Creative bill collection (humiliation) on Facebook

Here’s a new twist on an old business problem:

Restaurant Shamed a Family on Facebook Who ‘Forgot’ to Pay the Bill

“A UK restaurant chain ‘Burger & Lobster’ posted a photo of four customers it claimed left without paying the bill at its Cardiff, Wales, location to its Facebook page.”

According to the article in the Daily Mall, ‘The public shaming of the unidentified family attracted 600 comments before [the post] was pulled, representing a spectrum of trollish opinions. Some of the comments, however, pointed out that the timing of the post left the family very little time to correct what could have easily been an error by returning to the restaurant to pay.”

This is similar to our earlier post about the artist Svenson publishing photos of families at home without their permission, claiming it was art. The burger place did the same thing, but on their property, to solve a cash flow problem.

Several questions arise:

1)  Do you think it is OK for a restaurant to publish a photo without a family’s permission, potentially shaming or slandering an honest family’s reputation.?

2) Assuming there was no other way to contact the family, were there any other ways the company could have handled this to avoid negative repercussions?

3) If there was a camera in the restaurant that took this photo, why weren’t there other cameras or video surveillance equipment monitoring in the parking lot to read the family’s license plate?

4) Should this be more of a police report than a Facebook page?