Pune: Akhil Singh, a resident of the city who visited a restaurant called “1BHK Superbar” on Saturday, November 11, has alleged that restaurant-owner Rajat Grover has called and abused him repeatedly since then about a dispute over a Zomato review. After the recent controversy at the High Spirits Bar [WARNING: Highly explicit content] and bar-owner Khodu Irani, this altercation at 1BHK Superbar is currently trending on social media.According to Singh, an IT professional, he visited the restaurant along with three friends on November 11. After a protracted dispute over the levy of service charges, which the customers refused to pay, the management provided a discount to reduce the total bill but declined to remove the service charges. One of Singh’s female companions, who was present at the restaurant, posted a review on Zomato after the event which triggered the owner to act. Grover called the contact number he received from Zomato, which belonged to Singh, and repeatedly demanded his female companion’s phone number.
“Instead of responding to the review through Zomato, Grover decided to call me. As soon as I picked up he started screaming at me and telling me how much money he earns. He demanded my friend’s telephone number, but I didn’t share it because I was worried for her safety. That was when he began abusing me,” Singh alleged.
Singh stated that he cut the call when Grover’s words became violent. “He tried calling me again but I didn’t answer, so he sent me text messages.”
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A screenshot of an SMS allegedly sent by Rajat Grover to Akhil Singh, shared with Indus Dictum by Singh and also circulating on social media, is reproduced below:
“The first message was extremely threatening in nature. I wasn’t going to share my friend’s number with him, especially not after the tone he took. I asked him to talk to me. I couldn’t understand why someone from 1BHK Superbar called me and started screaming at me for no reason,” said Singh.
He further explained, “The problem actually started when Grover got off Zomato and called. He should have stuck to the forum, but he went off the network.”
Singh has highlighted the events in a post on Reddit. One user “u/rockyrosy” commented, “All he had to do was reply calmly to her review and explain his side of the story instead he goes on to threaten her with legal action for a zomato review.”
Other readers have come forward with their own experiences at the restaurant, and some have alleged that Rajat Grover has a history of responding uncivilly to negative reviews. Below is a screenshot of another review for 1BHK Superbar published in October on Zomato.
In the image above, Rajat Grover allegedly responded to the reviewer [name redacted] by deriding his English language skills and stating “1BHK Superbar is not a place for you and your kinds”, ending with his name and designation.
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The review published by Akhil Singh’s female companion [name redacted] made the following comment about the dispute over service charges which began at the restaurant:
“We did refuse to pay it, and they weren’t happy about it. That’s what triggered the review. They insisted it was compulsory, and we HAVE to pay, and after going back and forth on it for a while, they finally offered to give “discount” on the service charge, so we basically still paid the service charge.”
In response, Rajat Grover has claimed that it was he who was victimised and that he has filed a complaint alleging cybercrime with Chaturshrungi police.
“We have a disclaimer mentioning the service charge,” said Grover, also denying that he has any accounts on Zomato. This denial makes it unclear as to who responded to the negative review published in October.
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According to rules circulated by the department of Consumer Affairs, service charge is deemed to be voluntary and not mandatory. It is a completely discretionary charge, and customers can have it waived off if they are dissatisfied with the service or dining experience.
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