Services charges are optional in restaurant billing
New Delhi: The Department of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has clarified that in the restaurant billing service charges in addition to taxes are completely optional ,and if a customer is dissatisfied with the dining experience he/she can have it waived off.
A number of complaints from consumers have been received that hotels and restaurants are following the practice of charging ‘service charge’ in the range of 5-20%, in lieu of tips. The consumer is forced to pay irrespective of the kind of service provided to him.
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides that a trade practice 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.
The Department of Consumer Affairs has asked the State Governments to sensitize the companies, hotels and restaurants in the states regarding aforementioned provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and also to advise the Hotels/Restaurants to disseminate information through display at the appropriate place in the hotels/restaurants that the ‘service charges” are discretionary/ voluntary and a consumer dissatisfied with the services can have it waived off.