Is the restaurant charging extortionate customer service charges? know government rules

Do you know how much service charge big hotels or restaurants charge you? If not then it means you are not aware of an important law of the consumer affairs department. Yes, the name of this law is the Consumer Service Fee Act, in which no restaurant or hostel can forcibly charge service charges without the consent of the customer. Let us talk in a little detail about the new updates of this law and the new decisions taken by the department –

What is consumer service charge?

The service charge levied by a hotel or restaurant at the time of paying the bill for the service availed by the customers is called consumer service charge. According to the Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, this fee cannot be levied without the consent of the customer.

consumer service fee

Actually, we and almost every one of you must have been charged this charge at some point of time, but since most of the customers consider this extra charge in the bill as legal or mandatory, restaurants are starting to charge consumer service charges arbitrarily.

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What is the warning issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs to the restaurants regarding service charges?

Let us tell you that the Department of Consumer Affairs has issued a warning on 23 May 2022 regarding the extortionate service charges by the restaurants. Along with this, keeping in view the recent complaints received by the consumers of various states, on June 2, 2022 The National Restaurant Association has been called. In which a new announcement can be issued after discussing this issue.

The meeting, convened by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DOCA), is expected to bring out a permanent solution to the complaints lodged by consumers on the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) along with several media reports in the department.

What is the current rule regarding consumer service fee –

The news published by the Press Information Bureau states that no eatery or restaurant can wrongly charge an extortionate service fee. If the customer does not agree to the convenience fee mentioned in the checkout bill, it cannot be levied forcefully. The customer has the right to pay the service charge in the bill payment only with his consent.

In a letter written by Shri Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, to the President, National Restaurant Association of India, it has been pointed out that the restaurants and eateries are wrongly charging the service charges from the customers, though this charge is voluntary and the payment of Denying is at the discretion of the consumers, but it is not required by law.

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Why the government has to take new decisions –

Due to all the complaints of extortionate service charges from the consumers and the eateries charging the service charges at very high rates, the department may have to take new steps. Many consumers have even reported that they are being falsely misled about the legality of such charges.

In view of the requests made by the customers to remove the removal of such charges from the bill amount, the Department of Consumer Affairs needs to get the same examined in more detail.

What are the topics of discussion about Consumer Service Charge –

  1. Action against restaurants making service fee mandatory
  2. Action on adding service charge to the bill under the guise of any other fee or charge
  3. Clarifying that the service fee is voluntary
  4. Action on shaming consumers for protesting against paying service charges

What to do if a restaurant tries to charge a service fee forcibly –

The Consumer Affairs Department has a clear guideline that if any restaurant or eatery tells you that it is mandatory to pay the service fee, then you can complain on the helpline and social media platform of the department. If the concerned restaurant is found guilty in the investigation of the department, then action will be taken under the category of unfair trade practice.

Customers who have any complaints or information regarding service charges may contact the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission/Forums of appropriate jurisdiction. ncdrc.nic.in can go on.

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