Service charges: The Department of consumers affairs has advised customers to move the consumer courts if eateries take services charges from them. According to a report in Hindustan Times, Department of consumers affairs has reiterated that the service charges being charged from the diners by the eateries is an illegal act and consumers should move court against the erring restaurants and hotels if slapped service charges. Issuing guidelines in the month of April, the department of consumer affairs had prohibited the eateries from charging service charges. However, the department said the service charges should be left to the discretion of the consumers.
“Service charges are something like a tip which is voluntary on the part of the consumer,” according to Avinash K Shrivastava, Secretary, Department of consumers affairs, as per a report in Hindustan Times. “Guidelines were issued in this regard in April. The consumers should move a consumer court if they find a violation,” he added in the report.
In April this year, the government had approved new guidelines giving consumers the right to decide service charge they wish to voluntarily pay on a hotel or restaurant bill. The guidelines, which have made service charge totally voluntary and not mandatory, will be sent to states for necessary action, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had said. “Hotels and restaurants should not decide how much service charge is to be paid by the customer and it should be left to the discretion of the customer,” he added.