New Delhi: The next time you go out for dining, you will heave a sigh of relief over the ‘new changes’ in billing of hotels & restaurants. The government has barred the eating outlets from levying additional burden on customers by adding service charge in the bill, either by default or manually.
Hence, the next time, if any hotel or restaurant charges you service charge, you will have the option to reject it and if the outlet insists, you can lodge complaint with the concerned authorities.
The Central Consumer Protection authority (CCPA) under the Department of Consumer Affairs has issued guidelines for stopping unfair practices & violation of consumers rights & facilitating filing of complaints by the customers.
Guidelines issued by CCPA
The CCPA has issued series of guidelines to stop levying of service charge on the food bills, as mentioned below:
1) Hotels/restaurant must not add service charge, even by default, in the food bill
2) No service charge shall be levied on the customer, even by any other name;
3) Consumers can’t be forced to pay service charge and hotels must make an effort to inform them that the service charge is is voluntary, optional and at consumer’s discretion
4) Service charge is purely voluntary and must not be added in food bill & then adding GST on the total amount.
What Customers can do in case of guidelines violation
1) Under the CCPA guidelines, the customers have enough options to approach authorities if hotels & restaurants don’t pay heed.
2) If the bill has service charge component, customer can ask the concerned to remove it
Consumer may file complaint with National Consumer Helpline by calling 1915 or can also do so via NCH mobile App.
3) Consumers can also approach Consumer Commission over unfair trade practices and file a e-daakhil portal www.e-daakhil.nic.in for speedy redressal.
4) Complaint can also be submitted to DC of district for probe & subsequent action as per CCPA
5) Complaint can also be directly sent to the CCPA by e-mail at [email protected].