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Paying for WATER!

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St Andrews
posts: 17
reviews: 7
Paying for WATER!

My husband & I rrived back in Scotland after a 3 week trip mainly in Cornwall, also covering Shropshire, Cheshire, Bristol and Twice Brewed, stopped for a 1/2 pint and a bar lunch at the Traquair House in Innerleithen. I asked, as usual, for a pint for him & 1/2 pint of ale & a glass of water for myself. The barmaid poured the ale, the in a 'tone' said " We charge for water here you know, 50p a glass!" I took the water & paid for it, as I was thirsty as always but dont want to drink too much. I asked why the charge, & was told again in a defensive 'tone', it's for the ice (which I hadn't been asked if I wanted as is usual in the UK) and labour of pouring it! "It's just a drink you know", she added. Needless to say we didn't eat there, & won't be back.

First time I've ever been asked for payment for a glass of water.

36 replies to this topic
Sydney, Australia
posts: 2,788
reviews: 25
1. Re: Paying for WATER!

That is a disgrace, and possibly an illegal one (I don't know if that's the case)

Regardless, it is appalling customer service, particularly as it's not as if you weren't buying anything else from them

If I were you I would complain in the strongest possible terms to the owners/management, and smear their name as widely across the internet/local press/Scottish tourist authority/wherever. Shame them into apologising, changing their policy and some redress

posts: 2,050
reviews: 12
2. Re: Paying for WATER!

So if someone knocks on my door and asks for a glass of water, as long as I put ice in it I can say "That'll be 50p please"

Disgraceful! I hope they get really bad publicity for this practice.

St Andrews
posts: 17
reviews: 7
3. Re: Paying for WATER!

Thanks for the speedy reaction! Glad it's not just us that find this shockingly bad. I'm writing to the national press as well of course!

posts: 507
4. Re: Paying for WATER!

A restaurant near me has this practice, or at least used to. Some years ago at a local business association meeting it was suggested the charge was hidden in some way, so that it looked as though the customer was not paying, but AFAIK this never happened.

I understand business are in business to make a profit, but there are ways and means........

Compare that to another restaurant in this area (in an hotel) where you are given a jug of iced water at your table without request. If you drink it, you drink it if you don't you don't.

I have heard, but do not know if this is true, that restaurants are not obliged to offer tap water to drink and may charge for this service. However, restaurants in hotels are obliged to offer and either not charge directly, or may pass the cost on to the customer is some hidden way by raising the costs of meals and drinks slightly overall to compensate.

When I ran my B&B I used to have a jug of cold water on the breakfast buffet as well as the usual juices. Most days it was left untouched and would go to feed the plants. However I felt it was a nice gesture to make, though no one ever commented upon it.

Leeds, United...
Destination Expert
for Leeds
posts: 7,737
reviews: 130
5. Re: Paying for WATER!

"and smear their name as widely across the internet/local press/Scottish tourist authority/wherever."

The OP could turn this into a crusade. But to me dedicating your life into something like this is much more hassle.

By all means comment on a forum once so other people are aware, but there will always be establishments like this unfortunately.

Glasgow, United...
posts: 502
reviews: 7
6. Re: Paying for WATER!

"That is a disgrace, and possibly an illegal one"

In what way would it be illegal?

I am disappointed at the service but see nothing wrong with the charge.

North Yorks, England
posts: 290
reviews: 29
7. Re: Paying for WATER!

It would be illegal to refuse in England and Wales as the Licensing Act 2003 (mandatory conditions) stipulate that free drinking water must be available to customers - dunno what the Scottish licensing Act says on this subject though !?

Condition 3 if anyone is interested legislation.gov.uk/uksi/…made

North Yorks, England
posts: 290
reviews: 29
8. Re: Paying for WATER!

and a quick search tells me it is also illegal to refuse free tap water under the Scottish licensing act 2005

Schedule 3, (9)

(2)Tap water fit for drinking must be provided free of charge on request

Annaku report them to the local licensing office!

St Andrews
posts: 17
reviews: 7
9. Re: Paying for WATER!

It was actually the Traquair Arms Hotel, Innerleithen - hope I haven't inadvertently libelled someone else!

Glasgow, United...
posts: 502
reviews: 7
10. Re: Paying for WATER!

Thanks for the clarifications re tap water and the provision of it.

I assume it was tap water you asked for as you didn't mention it in the original post?

Could it be argued that a charge could be made for the glass as opposed in this case the "service" charge of adding ice and pouring it?

(Just thinking)

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