Service Charge News: The Central Government has become strict on charging service charge from customers in restaurants and hotels. The National Consumer Helpline continues to receive complaints that customers are forcefully charged service charges after having food in restaurants. Taking these complaints seriously, the government called a meeting of restaurant associations and consumer organizations on Thursday. On behalf of the Central Government, the meeting was chaired by the Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Rohit Kumar Singh.
It is illegal to forcefully collect service charge from customers – Government
The central government is now becoming very strict regarding this matter. In the meeting held on Thursday, it was made clear by the government that the service charge which is forcefully collected from the customers after eating comes under the category of illegal and unfair trade. The government is going to issue a detailed framework or guidelines in this regard soon. The government apprised the representatives of the Hotel and Restaurant Association about the complaints received from the customers. The government said that the service charge is added to the menu itself without taking the consent of the customers. The government made it clear that the service charge is optional and optional and not mandatory.
Government does not agree with the arguments of restaurant and hotel representatives
Consumer organizations argued that when hotels and restaurants have the freedom to decide the price of food, then imposing additional burden in the form of service charge would amount to unjust and unfair trade under the Consumer Protection Act and the Unfair Trade (Prevention) Act. Restaurant and hotel representatives claimed that the service charge is not charged for the food but for the staff and workers. He also said that adding service charge to the menu is tantamount to taking the consent of the customers. However, the government does not seem to agree with these arguments.