Leaf and Vine cafe owners speak after charging customer for heating up muffin

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A customer who sparked outrage by complaining online about a $1 surcharge at a cafe to reheat his muffin has now spoken out after being criticized for shaming the company.

Motivational speaker and podcast host Peter Williams recently had dinner at the Leaf and Vine cafe in Ringwood, Melbourne’s east, where he had to pay $1 to have his $7 raspberry and white chocolate muffin reheated.

He told his 26,000 Facebook followers that the charge to reheat his muffin, which he said was added to his bill without his knowledge, left him with a “really bitter aftertaste.”

The post, which went viral and sparked outrage online among people questioning the fee, has since sparked a war of words between the owners and the customer.

On Wednesday, owners Bec and Pete Murray, who have run Leaf and Vine for a decade, told Channel Nine’s A Current Affair the charges were a “mistake”.

However, Mr Williams soon countered, saying he believed this was “specific, targeted and perfectly aligned with their actions”.

Ms Murray told Channel Nine’s A Current Affair the charges were a “human error”.

“It was a mistake made by someone who was in training,” she said.

Ms Murray said there were at least 2,000 options on the register, including pre-installed options.

“These 2,000 items don’t always work according to plan,” she said.

“In this case, it didn’t work as it should. There was an additional cost associated with it, but that shouldn’t have happened.”

Ms Murray, who said she learned about the storm on social media from a friend, said Mr Williams had pilloried her business without informing her of the incident.

She said it was “regrettable” that Mr Williams took more than six hours to respond to her “after listening to the barrage of comments about us on social media condemning us”.

Mr Murray said if they had known about the fee they would have waived Mr Williams’ entire bill.

On Thursday, Mr Williams responded to Mr and Mrs Murray’s comments, telling NewsWire that he had refrained from making public comments until that point because he “thought the matter had already been resolved.”

Mr Williams told Newswire that he deleted his Facebook post as soon as he was able to do so at the request of Mr and Mrs Murray.

“I agreed to remove the post because (a) it was not my intention to specifically denounce the company and (b) they apologized for charging an additional fee,” Mr Williams said.

“I complied with this request because I felt sorry for them, given the great attention the post received,

“In retrospect, I don’t know if I should have deleted the post, but I felt it was the right thing to do at the time and at the request of the owners.”

Mr Williams said he did not address the charge directly to the cafe but posted about it on social media because he had already left the cafe by the time he noticed the charge and was travelling to another state.

He said he did not believe the charges were a mistake.

“Honestly, I don’t think it was a mistake – not with the system, not with the trainee, not with anything else,” said Mr Williams.

“The charge was specific, targeted, and perfectly aligned with her actions. No different than the almond milk and cup charges on the cafe’s previous receipt.

“I felt that the accusation and, more importantly, that I was not informed about it, were wrong, so I denounced it.”

Mr Williams denied defaming the cafe, saying he did not make the post for the likes or content but to “make people aware of checking their receipts and call out bad business practices.”

“People are fed up with underhanded accusations coming at them from all sides.”

However, he said he was made out to be “evil” because he “drew attention to something that affects everyone.”

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