The gimmick: In 2012, a popular casual dining chain emailed customers with “Free entree and more savings inside” in the subject line. The coupon in the email was not for a free entree after all but instead offered only half-off a second entree when you bought the first one.
Edgar Dworsky, founder of ConsumerWorld.org and a former Massachusetts assistant attorney general, contacted the company over its misleading grabber. It sent an apologetic email to customers.
Dworsky warns that other restaurant deals actually offering half off can be a “gotcha,” too. For example, one site offers $50 worth of restaurant certificates for $25 in what’s described as a half-off deal.
But you won’t snag a $50 meal for half-price because what you get for your $25 is five $10 certificates, and only one can be used at a time.
Depending on the cost of your order plus tip and taxes—which aren’t covered by the certificate—you’re probably unlikely to get any meal for half off.
Food for thought: Read all the details and do the math for yourself on restaurant freebies and deals that seem to suggest your bill will be cut in half.