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Service charges in restaurants are not mandatory: Government

Team SoOLEGAL 2 Jan 2017 10:00pm

Service charges in restaurants are not mandatory: Government

Now, pay service charge in restaurants at your discretion.

Following several compaints, the government has asked hotels/restaurants to prominently display that the service charge in the bill is voluntary.You, as a consumer, have the discretion to not pay ‘service charges’ added to your bill by any hotel/restaurant, according to the government.

In a statement issued on Monday, the consumer affairs department asked the state governments to advise the hotels/restaurants to prominently display that “the service charges are discretionary / voluntary and a consumer dissatisfied with the services can have it waived off.”

This follows several complaints from consumers that hotels and restaurants are seeking ‘service charge’ in the range of 5-20 per cent, in lieu of tips, which a consumer is forced to pay irrespective of the kind of service provided to him, the department said.

It said the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides that a trade practice which, for the purpose of promoting the sale, use or the supply of any goods or for the provision of any service, adopts any unfair method or deceptive practice, is to be treated as an unfair trade practice. Referring to the Act, the department added that a consumer can make a complaint to the appropriate consumer forum established under the Act against such unfair trade practices.

In this context, the department called for clarification from the Hotel Association of India, which replied that the service charge is completely discretionary and should a customer be dissatisfied with the dining experience, he/she can have it waived off. Therefore, it is deemed to be accepted (by the customer) voluntarily, it said.

The department has asked the States to sensitise the companies, hotels and restaurants in their respective territories regarding the provisions (on unfair trade practices) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. It also asked the states to advise the hotels/restaurants to disseminate information through display at the appropriate place in the hotels/restaurants.

 

Source: The Hindu

Tagged: Service Charge  
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