On Monday, the government floated a new bill that has left a number of restaurateurs baffled and many consumers cheering. According to this new rule, the consumer has discretion to pay ‘service charge’ or not.
The Department of Consumer Affairs in a notification asked the states to “advise the Hotels and Restaurants to disseminate information through display at the appropriate place in the hotels and restaurants that the service charges are discretionary and voluntary and a consumer dissatisfied with the services can have it waived off”.
This drastic move comes in wake of a number of consumer woes about hotels and restaurants charging whopping amounts of service charge (in the range of 5%-20%) in lieu of tips. And it is a given that the consumer absolutely has to pay this service charge whether or not he is satisfied with the service that he or she has received. Meanwhile, the Hotels Association of India has stated that the service charge is optional and if a customer is dissatisfied with their dining experience, they can have it waived off. Therefore, the rule is apparently being accepted willingly. Although there are a number of eateries that think otherwise.
And as for the consumers, while there are a bunch lauding this move, there are many others who have deemed the move unjust as it is only fair to pay for the services you’ve received. But what if the services are not up to your expectation? The consumer must have the right to deny the “tip” a.k.a. service charge, right? Basically, the debate is never-ending. At least as of now.
But what do you think? Or rather, what will you do the next time you eat out? Vote below!