The London pub part-owned by Madonna and Guy Ritchie is facing investigation by trading standards officials amid allegations of unfair pricing strategies.
The Hollywood couple bought shares worth US$5 million in The Punchbowl – just around the corner from their west London home – in February.
But the landlord has been accused of having two different pricelists for drinks – one for locals and another for tourists.
One complainant, Brian Richardson, claimed the barman had admitted to having separate tariffs when he protested about the price of his pint of beer.
Richardson claims he was charged US$7.80 for one beer, when he had previously paid US$7.00.
He says, “On Monday I paid US$7.00 for a pint, now all of a sudden it’s US$7.80.
I was shocked. I complained to staff. They have got two prices – regulars prices and non-regulars prices.
“There is no price list on the wall. I don’t mind paying more but it is completely arbitrary. It is not the money, it is the price hike. It is outrageous.”
The Punchbowl is now facing an official investigation by Westminster council.
Sue Jones, head of trading standards at the local council, says, “In light of these allegations we will be seeking to make contact with the landlord. This may well constitute unfair trading procedures and this is something the council would look into.”
However, the pub’s assistant manager, Henry Heaton, has denied the price fixing accusations: “That should not be the case and it won’t be the case. As far as I’m aware, there is no change (in price). There is no difference. Everyone should be paying the same.”
The Ritchies are believed to have a 20 per cent stake in The Punchbowl, which counts Hollywood stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Barbra Streisand among its regulars.
source : wenn