Customers cannot be forced into paying ‘service charge’, Centre warns restaurants
New Delhi, May 24: The Department of Consumer Affairs has cautioned restaurants on forced charging of service charges on consumers. In a letter written by Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs Rohit Kumar Singh to President of National Restaurant Association of India, it has been pointed out that the restaurants and eateries are collecting service charges from consumers by default, even though the collection of any such charge is Voluntary.
Consumers are also being falsely misled on the legality of such charges and harassed by restaurants on making a request to remove such charges from the bill amount. "Since this issue impacts consumers at large on a daily basis and has significant ramifications on the rights of consumers, the department construed it necessary to examine it with closer scrutiny and detail," Singh said in the letter.
It has been pointed out that the consumers are forced to pay a service charge, often fixed at arbitrarily high rates by restaurants. He said, consumers, are also being falsely misled on the legality of such charges and harassed by restaurants on making a request to remove such charges from the bill amount.
The Department of Consumer Affairs has called a meeting on 2nd of next month, with the National Restaurant Association of India to discuss the issues pertaining to Service charges levied by restaurants.