If You Used Your Credit Card At Olive Garden They Might Owe You Some Dough. Or At Least Some Bruschetta

If you paid with plastic at Olive Garden in 2006-2007 then they might just owe you a $9 appetizer. The Italian eatery was recently sued in a class-action lawsuit stemming from a 2006 change to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, which made it illegal to print more than the last five digits of a customer’s credit card number on a receipt. Olive Garden never stopped its practice of printing the last six digits, and could soon be issuing $9 “apology” vouchers to every customer affected.

But no one actually was affected: no one’s identity was stolen and nobody actually complained. So we applaud Olive Garden for doing the right thing by extending an, uh, olive branch, to its customers with this $9 voucher. However, what we really want is a weekend at their fabulous-looking culinary institute in Tuscany!!

You are eligible for a voucher if you paid with your debit or credit card between December 4, 2006 and August 10, 2007. Mail your request for a Voucher Claim Form to GMRI Class Action – Claims, GMRI FACTA Litigation Settlement, c/o Analytics, Inc., P.O. Box 2002, Chanhassen, MN 55317-2002; or call 1-866-890-4862. Note that the Voucher Claim Form must be postmarked on or before June 4, 2009.

Olive Garden diners may be eligible for $9 voucher [Orlando Sentinel] (Thanks to cheriset!)
(Photo: prakhar)

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  1. chemmy says:

    What if we don’t remember if we paid cash or with debit/credit? This seems to go back a ways.

    • Lori Snyder says:

      Well obviously if you paid with cash this wouldn’t apply, would it?

      • bibliophibian says:

        @Lori Snyder: If you can’t remember if you paid with cash or a credit/debit card, you wouldn’t KNOW if it would apply, would you? So you wouldn’t know whether or not you could file a claim… sheesh.

    • bibliophibian says:

      @chemmy: First step would probably be to go through your bank/credit card statements for the time period specified and look for “Olive Garden” on the statement.

      If for some reason you don’t have them or can’t access them, then according to the article (which for some reason I can’t click through to from this page – had to google it; anyone else?):

      Customers who ate at an Olive Garden in the United States and paid with a debit or credit card between Dec. 4, 2006 and Aug. 10, 2007, can fill out a form available at http://www.attorneyzim.com requesting a voucher. The PDF form is available under the heading “Class Action Notices.” You can also call 1-866-890-4862. You don’t have to provide proof of purchase but do have to sign a document certifying, under penalty of perjury, that you made the purchase. The voucher forms must be postmarked by June 4.

      I have a family member who loves Olive Garden and we go at least once every two months; too bad it’s a one-off and not a free appetizer for every event!

      • Kickstartheart says:

        @bibliophibian: I can see plenty of people willing to sign that document, penalties be damned, claiming they ate there in that time frame, even if they did not. All these recent food giveaways show how people can get when free food is involved.

        Can you imagine someone getting in trouble with the law because of this? That would be hilarious.

  2. ionerox says:

    Who do you report these sort of violations to? My local record shop chain prints the whole credit card number on their receipts- and the hipster kids who work there just shrug when you point it out the violation to them.

    • wcnghj says:
    • wcnghj says:

      @ionerox: I might start with the states AG OR filing a merchant violation.

    • SnozberryLicker_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @ionerox: Both forms, or the one you sign? I believe they can print the whole number on their copy, but not both. I believe.

      • christoj879 says:

        @SnozberryLicker_GitEmSteveDave: If it’s both there’s a problem and they need to update their terminal. I just ran a charge through and my copy has everything on it (which is kind of scary to me – I don’t need it as the charge is already submitted and approved and I don’t want to retain info such as this) and the customer’s copy has everything but the last 4 X’ed out.

        • wardawg says:

          @christoj879: If by your copy you mean the store copy then it’s supposed to have that information in case the charge is disputed they need all the information off the reciept, they can’t just use the transaction number or any other generated number because they aren’t unique except when paired with the cc number.

          • Wombatish says:

            @ionerox: There’s a decent chance that those hipster kids are just not the brightest, and giving out the wrong copy of the receipt. That’s happened to a lot of my mom’s tax clients. They bring in their CC receipts and they’re all the “XXXXXXXXXXXXXX0293″ ones.

            She always has to give them a little talking to.

            I always have to wonder how they didn’t catch it until tax time!

  3. Sarah Maximiek says:

    If you read the article at the OS, it explains you MAY be entitled, but the final decision is TBD – in July. No final settlement yet.

    Ionerox, I suspect you would report any such violations to either the FTC, or your Attor. Generals office. But I am not a lawyer, either..

  4. dhanson865 says:

    Analytics, Inc really? Are they one of those companies that does all the spyware/tracking/ad/cookie stuff. I’m supposed to register with them for some possibly free goods?

  5. bluewyvern says:

    Ooh, another class-action settled with moneymaking coupons. Walk in the door for your free $9 bruschetta, stay for a meal, walk out $30 poorer. Feel the sting, Olive Garden!

    • Kickstartheart says:

      @bluewyvern: Yeah, seriously.

      They should be required to feed the homeless, or have some sort of free food giveaway. Or whatever. Just something that doesn’t involve them earning a profit from their own foolishness.

    • BeerManMike says:

      @bluewyvern: Or order the $5 soup, salad, breadsticks and drink water + $9 appitizer for a filling meal.

  6. DH405 says:

    For what it’s worth, I complained about it.

  7. Dave says:

    I cannot click the links in the article because the source code uses “href:=” instead of “href=”. Please correct k thx.

    • Lucy Bayly says:

      @Dave: fixed. thanks!

      • Dave says:

        @Lucy Bayly: Thanks for quickly responding, but it’s still messed up. :/

        Plus there’s also an extra double parathesis at the end of the link tag as well.

        <a href:=”http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/orl-bk-olive-garden-lawsuit-051809,0,3459773.story”&quot;>

        This is the problem for the three links inside the article so it looks like a text filter problem of some kind.

      • slibville says:

        @Lucy Bayly: The href:= Problem is still happening for the two links in the article, plus the link to the person responsible for the photo. Just sayin’!

  8. I Love New Jersey says:

    So the upside would be you could get free food, but the down side of this would be that you would have to eat at The Olive Garden. I rather eat Italian food made by Albanians. (Just go to Belmont in the Bronx and you’ll see what I mean – it isn’t bad either.)

  9. Aaron Longchamps says:

    I’m sure I’ve been out to dinner there and paid with my debit card. Will have to investigate and get $9!

  10. B says:

    I think I’m eligible, but I don’t want to go back to Olive Garden.

  11. Gideon says:

    I was at the opening of their culinary institute… It really is amazing! Right in the middle of one of the most beautiful areas on earth.

    And while I wouldn’t venture to recommend the Olive Garden’s food (aside from their Artichoke Dip, which is bloody amazing) it has been getting progressively more “Italian” since the culinary institute opened (2001, I think?).

  12. italianscallion33 says:

    So we have to mail a request for a voucher claim form, and expect to get it in the mail in the first week of June so we can mail the completed one on time?

    Or is it that the REQUEST for the claim form must be postmarked by that date?

  13. bohemian says:

    Direct link to the claim form
    [www.topclassactions.com]

  14. mythago says:

    Hm, I will have to figure out whether I’m eligible, since I’ve only eaten there paying with a business card (my employer’s, not mine).

  15. Lucky225 says:

    HOLY SHNIKES!!!! I CALLED THIS OUT BACK IN 2001ish when California passed a State law and they were still breaking it in Cali!!! FIZNUCK YEA!

  16. Joseph Beck says:

    I love class action lawsuits. We get a $9 certificate, the lawyer gets $130,000 cash.

  17. boomerang86 says:

    Did this also happen at any of the other Darden Restaurant chains? They also operate Red Lobster, Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones and Longhorn Steakhouse.

  18. KMan13 still wants a Pontiac G8 says:

    I had this happen to me at a hotel in Peekskill, NY … I meant to write to the consumerist about it … maybe I should! It’s never too late! (unless they changed the practice…)

    • KMan13 still wants a Pontiac G8 says:

      @kman13:
      oh and by “this” I mean them printing the entire card number; as a matter of fact, they used a carbon copy of my card! Although they promised to shred it the next day, I still don’t see how it’s allowed…

  19. merekat says:

    I called the 1-800 number and left a message. There’s also a website, but I couldn’t find the voucher form on it (www.attorneyzim.com).

  20. ionerox says:

    @Wombatish: Nah, it’s the yellow carbon copy they hand back to the customer (even says “Customer Copy”)that has the entire CC number on it.

    We’ve got a great AG, so that’ll be my route- not that I want a merchant to get in trouble, but I also think they should be paying attention to consumer protection laws…

  21. piratealice says:

    I’ve been to many restaurants that print the whole number on the receipt, does the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act apply to all restaurants nationwide?