Mysterious charge at Panera restaurant has Illinois man warning others

SOUTH BARRINGTON, Ill. -- When we swipe our cards at a restaurant, how many of us take time to check the receipt?

A man from Hoffman Estates, Illinois, visited a Panera restaurant recently and happened to check his receipt. On it, he found a phantom $9 charge, according to WGN.

The items on Curtis Marquardt Jr.’s receipt should have totaled $32.73. But for some reason, the register made it more than $41.

Why did he check it?

“We go to Panera quite regularly and usually the total comes to about $30-$35,” he says. “This one was over $40. (I thought) they must of raised their prices."

A little more investigation revealed they hadn’t raised their prices at all and the math was just off.

“There was additional $9 in the subtotal but there was no item in the line items above that suggested it should add up to that amount. It was just an invisible $9 charge,” Marquardt said.

WGN talked to the manager at the store in the The Arboretum of South Barrington mall. She said no one could figure out where the extra charge came from. She says it never happened before and hasn't happened since. They, like Marquardt, are asking Panera headquarters to investigate.

“I'm just concerned other people are getting overcharged and not seeing it,” Marquardt said. “I would not have checked had the amount not been so much higher than I was used to.”

Once he brought the phantom charge to the employees attention, Panera went out of its way to accommodate his family. Not only did they give him his money back, but they compensated him for his whole meal.

“They offered us as many pastries as we wanted,” he says. “We didn’t take them up on that, but they were very helpful."

WGN reached out to Panera for comment but have not heard back at this time.