New Delhi: The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) on Monday (July 4, 2022) said that hotels or restaurants cannot automatically or by default add service charge to the food bill. The authority issued guidelines to prevent unfair trade practices and violation of consumer rights with respect to levy of service charges in hotels and restaurants and said that no hotel or restaurant shall “force” any consumer to pay service charges. could. The guidelines issued by the CCPA also stipulate that hotels and restaurants shall clearly inform the consumer that the service charge is “voluntary, optional and at the discretion of the consumer”.
“No restriction shall be imposed on entry or provision of services on the basis of collection of service charges. Service charges shall not be collected by adding it to the food bill and levying GST on the total amount,” the CCPA, which was set up on July 24, said. 2020, to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers as a class, said.
The guidelines come amid several complaints being filed by consumers with the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) regarding levy of service charges.
The CCPA said the issues raised by consumers include making restaurant service charges mandatory and adding them to the bill in default, making payment of such charges optional and voluntary, and shaming consumers if they do not pay service charges. Opposed to doing so, the CCPA said.
Restaurants and hotels typically add a service charge of 10 percent to the food bill.
What can you do if a hotel, restaurant adds a service charge to your food bill?
If a consumer finds that any hotel or restaurant is levying service charges in contravention of the above guidelines, he/she can request the concerned hotel or restaurant to deduct the service charge from the bill amount. If they do not do so, consumers can lodge a complaint on the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) by calling 1915 or through the NCH mobile app. The NCH, in particular, works as an alternative dispute redressal mechanism at the pre-litigation level.
The consumer can also lodge a complaint against unfair trade practice with the Consumer Commission through the e-Dakhil portal www.e-daakhil.nic.in.
The individual can also submit a complaint to the District Collector of the district concerned for investigation and subsequent action by the CCPA. The complaint can also be sent to CCPA by e-mail at [email protected]