Govt says service charges at restaurants optional, Twitter reacts
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Govt says service charges at restaurants optional, Twitter reacts

A recent release from the Department of Consumer Affairs clarifies that paying service charge is voluntary and a customer can waive it off if he or she is dissatisfied with the service.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2017 20:49 IST
Monami Gogoi
Monami Gogoi
Hindustan Times
Service tax,Restaurant bill,Service charge
People enjoy their food at a restaurant in Mumbai. (Rajendra Gawankar/HT Photo)

Ever grumbled about paying service charges on your restaurant bill despite getting lousy service or a bad dining experience? Well, you can rejoice now.

The Department of Consumer Affairs has announced that the ‘service charges’, which restaurants include in addition to taxes, are actually optional --- and not mandatory.

A Press and Information Bureau release on January 2 clearly states that service charge is payable only on the consumer’s discretion and can be waived off if the customer is not happy with the service.

The service charge is levied by restaurants and usually falls in the range of 5-20% of the total bill amount.

Following complaints from consumers, the Department of Consumer Affairs has declared that making service charge compulsory is an unfair trade practice .

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides that a consumer can make a complaint to the appropriate consumer forum established under the Act against unfair method or deceptive practice, the PIB release says.

The Department of Consumer Affairs has asked the state governments to sensitize companies, hotels and restaurants. It has advised the places to spread the information to customers through displays at appropriate places in their premises.

The Hotel Association of India has responded, clarifying that the service charge is completely discretionary and should a customer be dissatisfied with the dining experience, he/she can have it waived off.

Twitter was quick to react to the news.

First Published: Jan 02, 2017 17:56 IST