New Delhi: The Union Consumer Affairs Department on Monday banned hotels or restaurants from levying a service charge automatically or by default on the food bill. The government has also allowed customers to file complaints in the event of violations.Also Read – Reporter NEET UG 2022: Aspirants again urge PM Modi to delay medical exam, #PMOHelpNEETUGAspirants Trends on Twitter
Amid mounting complaints, the CCPA released guidelines to prevent unfair business practices and consumer rights violations with respect to the collection of service fees. Also Read – Bundelkhand Highway, Built 8 Months Ahead of Deadline, Will Open to Public Next Week: Everything You Need to Know
Per the guidelines, “No hotel or restaurant should add a service charge automatically or by default to the bill.” There should be no collection of service fees under any other name, he added. Also Read – Will Hyderabad be renamed Bhagyanagar? This is how the name comes from
No hotel or restaurant can force a consumer to pay a service charge. They must clearly inform the consumer that service charges are voluntary, optional and at the discretion of the consumer.
“No restrictions on entry or provision of services based on the levying of service charges shall be imposed on consumers,” the directive states.
Here are the guidelines
- No hotel or restaurant should add a service charge automatically or by default to the bill.
- There should be no collection of service fees by any other name
- No hotel or restaurant can force a consumer to pay a service charge.
- Service charges are voluntary, optional and at the discretion of the consumer.
- No restrictions on entry or provision of services based on levying service charges shall be imposed on consumers
- The service charge cannot be collected by adding it to the food bill and charging GST on the total amount.
- If a consumer finds that a hotel or restaurant is charging a service charge in violation of the guidelines, they can ask the establishment concerned to remove it from the amount of the invoice.
- Consumers can lodge a complaint with the National Consumer Helpline (NCH), which operates as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism at the pre-litigation level, by calling 1915 or via the NCH mobile app.
- They can also lodge complaints with the Consumer Commission.