Chipotle keeps the change, without customers’ permission, lawsuit claims

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FILE – Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, photo shows the sign over a Chipotle Mexican Grill in Brandon, Fla. The Chipotle marketing executive leading the chain’s efforts to rebound after an E. coli outbreak. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

(FOX) — Cashiers at the Chipotle restaurant chain have been rounding off customers’ tabs a little too well, according to a lawsuit.

Some of the chain’s locations in Pennsylvania have been keeping the change by hundreds of thousands of dollars, the suit claims, KDKA-TV of Pittsburgh reported.

The state attorney general’s office has received at least seven complaints, reports said.

Corporate bosses are likely behind the move, a lawyer told the station.

“It has become very clear that this is a top-down directive from the corporation, this is how they should handle the situation,” Frank Salpietro said.

One customer in Hampton, Pa., said she received $4 change on a bill of $15.51 instead of receiving $4.49 after paying with a $20 bill, KDKA reported. A restaurant employee simply withheld the remaining 49 cents, she claimed.

Another customer, in Pine, Pa., received $11 change on a bill of $8.72 instead of receiving $11.28 after paying with a $20 bill, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

“What we’ve learned is that they are telling people after they order their food and give their money to the cashier that they don’t have any change so they are not going to be able to give you the change,” Salpietro said.

Salpietro said he expects Chipotle to claim the national coin shortage sparked by coronavirus shutdowns is to blame. But the lawyer said he won’t buy that argument.

“I understand that the pandemic is affecting all of us,” he told the station. “But that doesn’t give Chipotle the license to line its own pockets at the expense of consumers, particularly when you hide behind a coin shortage to justify taking more money than you should.”

Such actions can hurt customers who are struggling to make ends meet, according to KDKA.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, the Tribune-Review reported.

There was no immediate response from the restaurant chain.

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