SDG&E surcharge appears on pizza shop receipts

Mountain Mike's Pizza is in Clairemont
Posted at 6:11 PM, Sep 04, 2018

(SAN DIEGO) KGTV - A mysterious charge has popped up on receipts at a Clairemont pizza shop.

It is titled "SDG&E Surcharget (sic)." It adds up to three percent of the subtotal after any discounts.

Caity Laakso is a regular customer of Mountain Mike's Pizza and enjoys the restaurant.

"These guys are awesome and they really treat their customers well," Laakso said.

She did not notice the extra charge before. It wasn't a big deal to her.

"I think if we can help out, we should, especially small businesses here," Laakso said.

Team 10 learned the San Diego City Attorney's Office has now opened an investigation into this surcharge. A spokesperson said they are looking into Mountain Mike's Pizza for violations of California's false advertising and unfair competition laws. State law requires any charge above the listed price be clearly disclosed to consumers.

There is notification on the restaurant's menus about a three percent surcharge, but it says it is to cover "increases to minimum wage and state mandated benefits for team members." It does not say anything about SDG&E.

Laakso argues the restaurant is trying to be transparent.

"I think it's very important to keep in mind, especially local businesses, they're struggling just as hard as everybody else," she said.

A neighboring business owner said he has never heard of that particular surcharge, but said his own electricity bill is skyrocketing at his liquor store.

"I used to pay anywhere between 8 to 900 dollars a month. Last month, I paid almost $1,450," said Daniel Yakob, owner of Anchor Liquor.

City Attorney Mara Elliott told Team 10: "Customers should be able to trust that the prices on the menu are the prices they will pay. Telling the truth isn't just good business, it's also the law, and this office will prosecute any restaurant that conceals the full cost of menu items from its customers."

Team 10 tried multiple times to reach the owner or the general manager of the restaurant, but have yet to hear back. An SDG&E spokesperson said that they have not heard of this charge either, but it also does not regulate how owners choose to do business. She added that they are not asking businesses to add any surcharges to bills.