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Los Cabos Tourists Warned About Restaurants Adding Illegal Mandatory Tips

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A new incident of mandatory tipping was recently reported on social media by tourists who went to a Beach Club in Cabo that is currently one of the more popular beach clubs in the region.

Arguing With Servers Over The Check

Due to the demand for a spot at the club, they are able to charge rather high prices. It wasn’t the high prices though, that these tourists necessarily complained about.

When their bill came, it showed a mandatory 15% service fee as part of the full price. 

Representatives from PROFECO the federal institution in Mexico that’s in charge of dealing with these types of issues have repeatedly mentioned that mandatory tipping is illegal in the country.

People At A Beach Club With Boats In The Background

Yet it’s such a common practice at beach clubs and bars that they shamelessly print their tickets with a 15% service markup.

Although neither tourists nor locals are legally obligated to tip servers it can be hard to forgo tipping particularly at beach clubs, bars and nightlife venues. 

In this particular instance according to the pictures uploaded to social media the group of tourists ordered two bottles of tequila plus three large Evian waters.

They also had sisha or “hooka” water pipe at the table. The server even gifted them a birthday cake. The birthday cake, although free came with quite a hefty bill on the back end. 

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Go to Taboo ME Los Cabos, order 2 Tequilas Don Julio $11,840 pesos, 4 Mineral Waters $1000 pesos, 1 Shisha $1000 + TIP INCLUDED IN THE TICKET $2,121 pesos. Total: $16,261.00 Mexican Pesos.

-Translation of Post Below

How To Deal With This Illegal Common Practice

The image of the ticket showing the mandatory tip was shared by multiple local news and entertainment sites.

Many people actually defended the establishment saying that this mandatory tipping practice is something that you should expect in places like Taboo.

Things like this mandatory tipping situation and the recent smoking ban that was enforced nationwide in Mexico showcase a sad reality in the country.

Therefore, travelers to the country may need to be ready to deal with common practices that may be outside the law. 

Man smoking on beach in Los Cabos

As previously stated forced tipping is common in bars and clubs across Mexico. One of the best ways to get around this situation is to agree on a tip before you order at any club.

That way even if there’s a mandatory tip on the bill the negotiation with your waiter is going to be an easier one.

These forced tips are at times used by waiters as a way to push you into paying for upgrades in your experience at a particular venue.

Senor Frogs in cabo with people enjoying the bar

If a tourist or local is willing to pay a 20% tip the waiter is going to be more willing to upgrade them to a better table at the club. 

While you can report this malpractice to Mexican authorities it’s unlikely that much will be done about it.

Negotiating a tip percentage beforehand may be the best way to avoid altercations with staff at these venues. 

people dacing at a club in a mexico beach town

Pay In Pesos And Stick With Your Card’s Exchange Rate

Another thing that should be concerning to travelers from this picture is the rate that’s given in US dollars on the ticket.

The current exchange rate at the time of writing this article is 18.32 pesos for every dollar. At that rate 887.56 dollars should be the cost of the bill marked at 16261.08 Mexican pesos.

Yet, the beach club bill says 956 dollars is the price that would have to be paid in US dollars. Even though most banking institutions have a higher exchange rate than what’s officially reported on the day that particular rate is not favorable at all. 

client paying with his cellphone at cafe

You have two options to try and get favorable exchange rates. You could buy Mexican pesos before your trip at a currency exchange spot that offers a favorable rate.

With food and drink bills that are this high though it’s not recommended that you carry around that much cash.

The next best thing then is to pay with your card in pesos, and stick to your credit card provider’s exchange rate.

It tends to be more favorable than the one that you get from restaurants or even the payment processor.

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