Woman warned for making fake complaints

There is no such thing as a free lunch, as a Hastings woman has found to her cost.

The 43-year-old spent an afternoon complaining to Napier restaurants about the quality of their service and demanding a refund. But her plan was foiled when staff realised the woman had not dined there.

Breakers Cafe said the woman verbally abused and intimidated her staff when she rang demanding a refund on Tuesday afternoon. But she could not say when she had been in the restaurant, what she had ordered, or what was wrong with it. Suspicious at the lack of detail, staff refused a refund.

A short time later, the Hog's Breath Cafe received a similar call. The manager also refused the woman a refund because she could not give details about what had gone wrong.

Later that day, the woman changed tack, and demanded a refund from a supermarket at which she claimed to have bought rotten food. She was arrested after becoming abusive and angry towards staff. A Countdown spokeswoman said the woman had been trespassed from all Hawke's Bay stores.

The woman, who is known to police, was formally cautioned for her behaviour, Sergeant Brian Peard said.

New Zealand Retailers Association spokesman Barry Hellberg said the restaurants were right to refuse refunds without evidence.

The Dominion Post