Chinese Restaurant Ben Edelman: Harvard Professor Fights Chinese Restaurant Over $4

December 10, 2014 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Chinese restaurant, Ben Edelman, war of words, all add up to one strange story that has gone viral. A Chinese Restaurant charged a $4 extra fee to Ben Edelman, a Harvard professor, and the lengthy email exchange between the two parties that followed is beyond bizarre.

Sichuan Garden

A war of words has been ignited between a Chinese restaurant and Ben Edelman over $4. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Ben Edelman, a brilliant Harvard professor, who has been given the nickname “Doogie Howser of online investigative work,” for he has been tackling internet giants like Facebook and Google for misleading users, since he was very young.

On the evening of December 5th, 2014, at around 6 PM, the Ben Edelman Chinese restaurant war began with a simple phone call. Edelman called Massachusetts’ famous Sichuan Garden located in Brookline, where he ordered several items, including sauteed prawns with roasted chilli and peanut, and stir-fried chicken with spicy capsicum that was supposed to add up to $53.35.

But when Edelman received his $57.35 bill, he sent an email to the manager of the Chinese restaurant, Ran Duan, asking for an explanation.

Duan, who is also the son of the owners of the restaurant, replied by saying that the website is outdated and; therefore, some of the prices were not accurate, according to The Inquisitr.

Ben Edelman replied with a menacing tone and he demanded that the company eliminate the website, or he will contact the proper authorities to handle the matter. In his second email, Edelman stated:

“Thanks for the reply and for explaining what went wrong.We enjoyed the food, but we don’t need to trouble you for an updated menu.Under Massachusetts law it turns out to be a serious violation to advertise one price and charge a different price. I urge you to cease this practice immediately.”

The Chinese restaurant Ben Edelman feud went on and on for several days via countless emails. At some point, Edelman asked the restaurant manager to refund three times what the business took from him.

A fedup yet polite Mr Duan asked Mr Edelman, how can a man so educated find time to harass a mom-and-pop eatery that has already apologized for its practice?

Edelman replied by revealing that while he does have a busy schedule, he still finds time to make sure businesses that are scamming clients are sanctioned. He explained:

“You’re right that I have better things to do. If you had responded appropriately to my initial message – providing the refund I requested with a genuine and forthright apology – that could have been the end of it. The more you try to claim your restaurant was not at fault, the more determined I am to seek a greater sanction against you.”

The pair has not really solved the matter, which has pushed Duan to hire a legal team to represent his company. Check out all of the emails between the professor and the restaurant manager below.

What are your thoughts on this Chinese restaurant Ben Edelman heated exchange over $4?

chinese restaurant Ben Edelman

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Comments (2)

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  1. Carl says:

    I think it is right in what he is doing. He is fighting not just for himself but for all Americans. It is about time people stand up to underhanded restaurants and their business practices. Why charge more than your menu says? It is the principle of the thing. Most Chinese restaurants will not let you go on your bill to the penny unless it is during Chinese new year when they are a little nicer. So, when a consumer wants them to be honest in the way they do business, it is not to much to ask. I often get upset that Chinese food is so overpriced when most of it is rice.

    • Chuck says:

      This is not an example of correcting a poor business practice, it is bullying a local restaurant and brow beating the owner’s son. I eat a great deal of Asian food and dine at any number of establishments. I am also a professional that understands what is entailed in operating a small restaurant or business. The owner offered a refund in good faith and is attempting to rectify the deficiency. Many small establishments can’t always update their menu for every change, that is unrealistic and unreasonable. The variance, for all that was ordered, was within reason. Maybe the owner could have offered some free menu items, it would have been a nice gesture but is not required. BTW the menu items, especially seafood, is not cheap and is not only rice.

      Carl, you need to look for another cause to expend your efforts on. You also could benefit by educating yourself on the operation of a small enterprise, it is not the easy road you may envision. I have seen too many clients crash and burn that thought otherwise.


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