In a reality check carried out by a team of HT reporters on levying of service charge at 20 eateries across the cities, two were found charging it from customers. The bills were generated between November 5 and 7 even after the UT administration termed it illegal.
The two eateries are Chilis Bar and Grill and Garlic and Greens, both at Elante Mall in the Industrial Area. Another eating joint at the mall that was levying the charge till November 5 was not found charging it on Friday.
Through a notice on October 31, the UT excise and taxation department had declared service charge as illegal and had directed hotels and restaurants not to levy it. The administration had stated that legal action would be initiated against those failing to comply with the orders.
A visit to restaurants in Sector 26 revealed that they have stopped levying service charge ever since the notice. Similarly, majority of hotels and restaurants that the HT team visited in Sectors 35 and 43 revealed that no service charge was being levied on customers.
International chains of eateries offering pizzas and buggers have stopped burdening residents with the service charge, though they were charging it a few days back.
A visit to a prominent five-star hotel in the city revealed that no service charge was being levied on customers. In Sector 17 also, the restaurants and hotels charging service charge have stopped doing it.
UT deputy commissioner Mohammad Shayin said, “We will be carrying out surprise checks in city hotels and restaurants as they cannot fleece customers with service charge. If any eating joint owner is found indulging in the practice, a penalty will be imposed.
”What is service charge?
Service charge is levied by eateries. The charges have not been introduced by the government but are collected by the restaurants as per their own whims and fancies, ranging from 5-10% of the food bill. The ministry of consumer affairs says service charge cannot be levied. The UT administration had declared the practice illegal in 2006.