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Consumer Alert: System charges too much tax at some Memphis restaurants

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A computer system used to calculate tabs could be artificially altering receipt totals at a local bar or restaurant.

At Belle Tavern in downtown Memphis, managers want customers to trust them. But that means some extra work with the system they use to print checks.

"To the best of our ability, we try to make sure every customer is aware of this," manager Michael Gentry said.

He described his establishment's issue with Breadcrumb, their point of sale or P.O.S system.

"The nice part about Breadcrumb is it was developed by bartenders and servers," he said.

But that hasn`t exactly paid off.

Belle, like a lot of bars, includes tax in the drink prices on its menu. But there`s a glitch with the Breadcrumb system so that when you buy food and drinks together, it double charges your taxes on the drinks.

Gentry gave us a sample bill to convey the issue. The bill had a $10 food charge and $90 in drinks. The tax should've just been a 9.25 percent sales tax charge on the $10 food item. But instead, it charged that sales tax amount plus a 15 percent alcohol tax on the total, essentially double-charging sales and alcohol tax on the alcohol that should've already been included in the price.

The bill that should've been around $100 came out to more than $122.

"From a service perspective we have to take our time to split these tickets up," Gentry said. "It's an issue they've told us they're going to fix several times and they're not."

In an email, Breadcrumb said there will be an update in May to fix the issue. Until then, they said it's up to the restaurants to work around it.

The company wouldn`t tell WREG how many restaurants use Breadcrumb in the Mid-South, but we counted at least six in the downtown and Midtown areas.

WREG spoke with other establishments; both Loflin Yard and Rec Room said they`d also had issues and were working around it.

"I know there are businesses that use the same software and because this is a global update for the software, it's not an issue to us," Gentry said.

He said the best way for consumers to protect themselves is to pay attention, ask what kind of system the bar uses and do the math on your receipt.