Controversy arises as Mong Kok restaurant rejects torn banknote

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18th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) In a recent incident that has garnered attention on social media, a customer at a popular restaurant on Tung Choi Street in Mong Kok, was left disgruntled after the cashier refused to accept a torn HK$20 banknote. The incident has sparked a heated debate among netizens, with opinions divided on the matter. While some empathize with the customer, others support the cashier’s decision.

The customer, who claimed to have worked at a bank for 40 years and claimed to have seen all sorts of damaged banknotes, shared his frustration on a local Facebook group. He uploaded a photo of the torn banknote, which had a small tear near the upper right corner, next to the serial number. Supporters of the customer argue that the damage was minor and the refusal to accept the banknote was excessive. They commented, “It’s just a slight tear… it’s unreasonable not to accept it. Many people still use torn banknotes without any issues.”

On the other hand, supporters of the cashier argue that businesses have the right to refuse damaged currency. They point out that if the customer is unsatisfied, they can exchange the torn banknote at a bank instead. Some netizens suggest that the main issue lies in the attitude of the cashier and emphasize the need for both parties to remain calm and polite in such situations.

The customer, responding to inquiries from others, revealed that he would accept the torn banknote if he were in the cashier’s position. He stated, “As long as the serial number is intact and the paper quality is undamaged, I would accept it. Having worked at a bank for 40 years, I have seen all kinds of damaged banknotes. I believe cashiers have their own perspectives, but anyone can still use this banknote…”

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has also weighed in on the matter of damaged banknotes. According to the HKMA’s Facebook post titled “Are Torn Banknotes Still Money?” they state, “If a banknote has a slightly torn corner or is stained, it can still be used. However, it is advisable to return such banknotes to a note-issuing bank. If the bank verifies that the banknote is genuine and the damage does not exceed one-fourth of the banknote or compromise its security features, they will generally exchange it for a new one.” The HKMA advises individuals to maintain the overall condition of their banknotes to ensure their own interests are protected.