Did I just get scammed?

Just read an interesting post in Reddit/Portugal.
The poster was questioning if he had just been scammed/grossly overcharged by a restaurant in the Alfama.
It was suggested that he should ask for the Red Book to report his experience.
The Red book (Livro de reclamaçoes) is according to Wikipedia a “complaints book of mandatory disclosure in establishments where public service is performed , in which users can register complaints.”
It was also suggested that the person should have asked the owner for their Red Book and that may have sufficiently scared the owner to revisit how much he was going to charge.
Thought I’d share this one since it’s nice to know such a thing is available in Portugal


Oh yes, it’s always good to leave a written complaint in that kind of situation. Just the threat of it can be enough to solve a disagreement. Also, if there really was a scam, maybe calling the police would also be justified, but I don’t know the whole story. If an establishment refuses to hand you the complaints book, that’s also grounds to call the police, by the way. They’re legally required to have the book and to provide it when requested.

There’s also an electronic version, as an alternative: https://www.livroreclamacoes.pt/inicio

Hi Joseph
Here’s the link to the Reddit post

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Since we are into talking about eating out
Care to comment on this comment submitted on the same post?
“Which is illegal by the way. Any food that is in the table or brought to the table without request is free of charge by law.”

I’ve heard that before, but in reality, people either don’t touch that food and ask to keep it out of the final bill (or refuse to pay if it magically appears there) or, if they eat it, they pay for it. Eating it and then refusing to pay is seen as acting in bad faith. Here’s an article (in Portuguese) confirming that, by the Portuguese Association for Consumer Protection: https://www.deco.proteste.pt/familia-consumo/ferias-lazer/noticias/restaurantes-se-nao-consumir-as-entradas-rejeite-e-nao-pague

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I actually had to use the complaints book once for my gym. I needed a tax receipt, and they were delaying sending them despite me requesting them literally about 10x, in person and via email. They kept blaming their management in Spain that does the accounting, but after months of this, I just needed the receipts.

I was impressed with the process actually. You ask for the book, then you fill out your complaint. You take a copy of it, and the issue was resolved within just a few days.

On the other hand, I’ve seen it abused by cranky snobs in cafés who don’t like a mistake some poor server made. I feel like it can give people who have no power in their own lives, a temporary thrill when they’re feeing insignificant.

So it is effective but I really hope people don’t abuse it since it really does have serious repercussions for employees that may sincerely mean no harm and are doing their best to earn their crazy-low monthly wage. In my opinion, it should be the last resort, after you’ve already given management a fair chance to correct the issue, human to human :see_no_evil:


This! Sure, there are managers/supervisors/etc who will stand by their employees when the client is clearly wrong, but others will gladly throw them under the bus. We never really know. To be honest, I don’t even know exactly what are the repercussions for employees or for companies as a whole. I need to read more about this.

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