Sunday, July 27, 2008

Me and Luis

Huh, you say?
Actually, this is an update on the restaurant experience we had at Cilantro's while we were in Puerto Vallarta.
I'd previously written that we absolutely loved the restaurant; the ambiance, the drinks, the food, the service; all of it.
When I went to post my review on Trip Advisor, I noticed that someone else had also posted a review (actually, there were two other reviews but one was in Spanish so I couldn't really decipher it). The one I COULD read was not complimentary at all; it seemed they had a terrible experience; they thought the drinks were watered down, the food mediocre and the prices way too high.
And, they reported, a day or so after the visited Cilantro's, they discovered that their debit card number had been compromised and "someone" had run around Puerto Vallarta merrily charging up a storm.
Well, frankly, I thought "sour grapes" because they'd also been pulled over by the police and had to pay a bribe to keep their car from being towed.
Fast forward a few weeks. I happened to be moving Bookmarks around on my computer and decided to check the balance on one of our credit cards. The one we used at Cilantro's.
Guess what? There were two separate charges in Puerto Vallarta at some car repair place totaling over $1,400 US. AND, the charges were made AFTER our visit to Cilantro's; in fact, they were made AFTER we left Mexico.
I immediately called the credit card company to report the fraud, cancel the card, and bitch at them for not flagging these charges (before we left, I called them to alert them to the fact we'd be using the credit card in Mexico; I gave them the dates we'd be there; they should have noticed this and denied the charges).
Of course, we're not liable for the charges, but, still, it was rather a disappointing end to our memories of Cilantro's.
I stewed about it for a few days and decided to look them up on the web and see if they had a site where I could contact them and complain.
Almost immediately, I received a reply from someone who said he was the owner. He apologized profusely and expressed concern (for his business) and confusion (how could this happen if they didn't have our actual card).
I enlightened him as to how these scam artists operate (all they need is the number and the expiration date, usually, to make a counterfeit card with their name instead of ours). He wrote back asking if I'd tell him where the charges were made. He told me he planned on going to those places armed with pictures of his employees to find out who the culprit was. He also told me he was going to put in hidden cameras in his restaurant.
During these few email conversations, he told me his name was Luis, he was the owner, and he was really mad because this was his business, his livelihood. His English isn't perfect, but, I can understand him enough to get his drift.
I wished him luck and told him that we really did enjoy our visit to his restaurant. He said if we ever were back in Puerto Vallarta, come on over and dinner would be on him.
Regardless of who paid, would I go there again? I think so; and I think I'd tell others to go as well for the dining experience.
Just pay in cash.
Mrs. B


Margot said...

Wow! & good for you for running this to the end ... Luis at Cilantro. Am sure he doesn't want any more problems reported on the internet.

* a . n . a . l . e . e * said...

that is crazy, however it MAY be coincidental... did you use your cc other places?

Mrs. B said...

Yes, a few other places but early on in our stay (like the first day). I think they would have likely charged right after that because that is what they do; get the card number, make a fake card, run out and charge as much as possible as soon as possible before it is discovered. These charges were made AFTER Cilantro's (the 1st) and more than two weeks after we used the card at the other place (the 25th of June). So, it probably is someone at Cilantro's.

We'll see if Luis sends me an update when/if he captures the thief!

Mr. B said...

Yeah, it would be something if he actually caught the person and replies.