New Jersey's highest court has agreed to consider whether restaurants that don't list beer, wine or mixed-drink prices on their menus are violating state consumer laws.
Separate class action suits contend that T.G.I. Friday's and the parent company of Carabba's Italian Grill violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and the Truth in Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act.
T.G.I. Friday's has restaurants in Hackensack, Ramsey and Wayne. Carabba's nearest eatery to Bergen or Passaic is in Secaucus.
According to the New Jersey Law Journal, the state Supreme Court will also consider whether charging different prices depending on what part of the restaurant a customer buys it is also a violation .
The cases will draw widespread interest, given the potential effect the justices' decision could have on consumer rights in New Jersey.
Dugan v. T.G.I. Friday's Inc. asks:
“Is class certification appropriate in this action where plaintiffs allege that defendant violated the Consumer Fraud Act (N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 to -184) and the Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty, and Notice Act (N.J.S.A. 56:12-14 to -18) by failing to include drink prices on its menu?”
Debra Dugan alleges that she didn't learn the cost of her drink until she got the check during one visit -- then paid $2 for a beer at the bar but was charged $3.59 when she later ordered one from a table in the restaurant.
Another complainant said he found prices of $7.19 and $8.20 for drinks "a little steep" after he claims a waitress told him they were seven dollars each.
T.G.I. Friday’s contended that the franchisees who own more than half of its restaurants in New Jersey have the option of price-listing drinks.
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