Service charge by hotels/restaurants not mandatory: Govt
New Delhi:┬áNew Year comes with good news for food lovers across the country! In the wake of a number of complaints from consumers that they are being forced to pay service charge in the range of 5-20 per cent, in lieu of tips, irrespective of the kind of service provided to them, the government has said that a consumer can now refuse to pay the service charge if he/she┬áis not satisfied with their dining experience.
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 stipulates that a┬átrade 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 and that a consumer can make a complaint to the appropriate consumer forum established under the Act against such unfair trade practices.
In accordance to the act, the department of Consumer Affairs called for clarification from the Hotel Association of India, which in response stated that the service charge is completely discretionary and, therefore, it is deemed to be accepted voluntarily.
The Central government, in a press release, has also directed the state governments to ΓÇ£sensitize the companies, hotels and restaurants in the states regarding aforementioned provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.ΓÇÙ
In addition, it has asked state governments ΓÇ£to advise the Hotels/Restaurants to disseminate information through display at the appropriate place in the hotels/restaurants that the ΓÇÌservice chargesΓÇÙ are discretionary/ voluntary and a consumer dissatisfied with the services can have it waived off.ΓÇÙ
So the next time youΓÇÕre at a restaurant or a cafe and youΓÇÕre not happy with the experience, remember ΓÇõ you have the right to say no to that service charge printed on your bill.
Source:The Indian Express