Students arrested for not paying tip

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - November 19, 2009

Leslie Pope, a senior at Moravian College, was with her boyfriend John Wagner, a grad student at Lehigh, and a handful of friends at the Lehigh Pub last month.

Pope said the service was horrible.

"It was absolutely awful. You just, kind of, don't expect that,' she said.

"It took over an hour for the wings and salad to get out," said Wagner.

Pope and Wagner said their waitress was missing in action. Leslie had to go get napkins, silverware and drink refills.

So, when the tab came, the group paid for everything else, but refused to pay the $16.35 gratuity tacked on to the check. That amount, they said, was a 22% tip, not the 18% charged to large parties.

"That was sort of the breaking point where this is ridiculous. We shouldn't have to pay for this poor service and we shouldn't have to pay this extra money," said Wagner.

When Pope and Wagner wouldn't pay the full tip, pub personnel called police and the two were arrested and charged with theft of services.

"I was sitting in the back of a cop car and I was like this is really happening? I actually just got arrested for not paying a tip!" said Pope.

Managers at the pub wouldn't comment to Action News. Professor Robert Kuchta, a Lehigh University marketing professor, says customers have an expectation of service, so it's fair to ask:

"Did I really get what I paid for? Do they have a legitimate complaint? Probably."

Pope and Wagner have pleaded not guilty and have a court date in December. It's unlikely they will get jail time.

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