Forced to pay service charges in hotels, restaurants? Here’s what you should do

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No hotel or restaurant should add a service charge automatically or by default to the bill, according to the latest guidelines. However, the government has noticed that it is still in effect in some hotels and restaurants.

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) issued new regulations on July 4 prohibiting hotels and restaurants from automatically or default adding service charges to meal bills. Additionally, it made it very obvious what actions customers could take if the rules were broken.

According to the new law, service charges shall not be collected from consumers under any other name, no hotel or restaurant shall force a consumer to pay service charges, and shall clearly inform the consumer that service charges are voluntary, optional and at the discretion of the consumer.

In addition, no restrictions on entry or provision of services based on charging service fees will be imposed on consumers. The service charge will not be collected by adding it to the food bill and charging GST on the total amount.

The latest guidelines also note that a tip or gratuity is given in appreciation for services beyond the bare minimum agreed upon by the guest and hotel management, and is given at the option of the guest to employees of the hotel. hotel or restaurant. A customer can assess the quality and level of service and determine whether or not to tip or pay a tip and, if so, how much only after the dinner is over.

In the event that you are forced to pay a service charge or it is added automatically or by default to your restaurant bill, here is what you should do.

Ask the hotel or restaurant concerned to remove the service charge from the invoice amount.

File 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.

File a complaint against unfair trading practices with the Consumer Affairs Commission. Complaint can also be filed electronically through edaakhil portal www.edaakhil.nic.in for its quick and efficient redress.

Submit a complaint to the District Collector of the concerned district for investigation and further action by the CCP A. The complaint can also be sent to the CCPA via email at [email protected]

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