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Service charge at Restaurant is not mandatory: Government

NEW DELHI: The government on Monday has said that a consumer who is not satisfied with their dining experience in the restaurants can now refuse to pay the service charge in addition to taxes as per the Consumer Protection Act.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution had received a lot of complaints from consumers about the issue. The ministry said in the notification that. “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, which a consumer is forced to pay irrespective of the kind of service provided to him.”

The Hotel Association of India replied to the statement that the “service charge is completely discretionary and should a customer be dissatisfied with the dining experience, they can have it waived off”, as per the department.

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is an Act which protects the interests of consumers and makes provision for the establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumers’ disputes and for matters connected therewith.

The department has also asked the state governments to sensitize the companies, hotels and restaurants regarding provisions of the Act.