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Harvard Prof $4 Overcharge: Teacher Takes Chinese Restaurant to Task

Image: Harvard Prof $4 Overcharge: Teacher Takes Chinese Restaurant to Task
A screen grab from Boston.com with photos of Ben Edelman and a restaurateur he berated. (Pamela Silvestri/Staten Island Advance/Landov)

By    |   Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014 05:04 PM

An associate professor at Harvard Business School is drawing widespread attention for his hard stance against a family-run Chinese restaurant that he says overcharged him by $4 for an order he placed online.

Ben Edelman placed an online order from the Sichuan Garden, but realized that the restaurant charged him $4 more than the $53.35 in prices reflected on the website, Boston.com reported. The overcharge sparked a volley of emails between Edelman and Ran Duan, whose parents founded the restaurant.

Edelman noticed that the price he was charged for each plate was $1 more than the price listed on the website.

Duan explained the error by saying the website prices have been “out of date for quite some time.”

“Under Massachusetts law it turns out to be a serious violation to advertise one price and charge a different price,” Edelman wrote in an email to Duan, urging him to update or remove the website and pay three times the amount of the overcharge, citing a statute under which “consumers broadly receive triple damages for certain intentional violation.”

The restaurant offered to refund the difference. The exchange escalated from there, with Edelman alerting town officials and considering further legal action against the restaurant.

Since the emails were published by Boston.com, the restaurant has seen an outpouring of support from loyal customers, the site reported.

Harvard Business School students tried to distance themselves from the professor’s actions by launching a campaign asking people to donate $4 to the Greater Boston Food Bank.

“What Edelman did makes it much harder to make the case that this is an institution full of good people,” student Jon Staff, who helped launch the campaign, said, according to Boston.com. “This one action doesn’t define who we are as a community. Or it shouldn’t.”

On Wednesday, Edelman apologized for his actions in a statement on his website. "Having reflected on my interaction with Ran, including what I said and how I said it, it’s clear that I was very much out of line. I aspire to act with great respect and humility in dealing with others, no matter what the situation. Clearly I failed to do so. I am sorry, and I intend to do better in the future. I have reached out to Ran and will apologize to him personally as well.

Twitter users were incredulous over the initial upheaval.









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An associate professor at Harvard Business School is drawing widespread attention for his hard stance against a family-run Chinese restaurant that he says overcharged him by $4 for an order he placed online.
harvard, prof, 4, chinese, restaurant
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2014-04-10
Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014 05:04 PM
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