A North Carolina couple was charged what is suspected as being “black tax” while out during Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) weekend. Patrice and Tony Wright stopped into the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte last Friday (March 6) for food and drinks, but it was something extra on the bill.
"When she [the waitress] brought the receipt, there was a CIAA surcharge that was included," Patrice told Charlotte’s WBTV. "And we thought that's interesting because we have frequented the establishment several times and never had any surcharge that was associated with any organization that was in town."
An extra $10.20 was tacked on in addition to their bill for four drinks and sweet potato fries. The husband paid the $68 plus a tip and left the hotel. When they returned home, Patrice posted a photo of the receipt on Facebook, garnering the attention of a Ritz representative, but was never able to get anyone on the phone.
The surcharge suspicion surrounds the stereotype that Black patrons don’t tip. "Is there an ACC Championship surcharge? Is there a Speed Street surcharge? Is there a Belk Bowl surcharge?" Patrice questioned.
Tom Murray, Chief Executive Officer of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority noted that the charge was more of an “automatic gratuity.”
A representative from the Ritz explained in an email that the hotel added “a modest 15% service charge for our lobby beverage servers, on whom the event places significant demands throughout the weekend." The extra charge was “due to the size of the event.”
The hotel didn't reply to an inquiry about surcharges for similarly large events in the city.
CIAA festivities celebrate intercollegiate basketball tournaments between nearly a dozen historically Black colleges.
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(Photo: WBTV News)