Hotels and Restaurants barred from levying service charge by default
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has said that no hotels or restaurants can add service charge automatically or by default to the food bill. In this regard, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has issued guidelines for preventing unfair trade practices and violations of consumer rights.
The guidelines highlighted that the collection of service charge will not be done by any other name. It said, a hotel or restaurant can not force a consumer to pay service charge and will clearly inform the consumer that service charge is voluntary, optional, and at consumer’s discretion.
The guidelines further mentioned that no restriction on entry or provision of services based on a collection of service charge will be imposed on consumers. The service charge will not be collected by adding it along with the food bill and levying GST on the total amount.
The Ministry said that the consumer may lodge a complaint against the violator hotel or restaurants on the National Consumer Helpline, NCH by calling 1915 or its NCH mobile app.
The Ministry highlighted that the consumer may also file a complaint against unfair trade practice with the Consumer Commission through e-daakhil portal www.e-daakhil.nic.in for its speedy redressal. It said, furthermore, the consumer may submit a complaint to the District Collector of the concerned district for investigation and subsequent proceedings by the CCPA. The complaint may also be sent to the CCPA by e-mail at email@example.com