Service Charge On Your Food Bill Is Not Mandatory, The Government Said In A Statement

Food lovers rejoice, the service charge on your bill can be waived if you’re not satisfied with the experience. This announcement was made by the Union Consumer Affairs Ministry today.

The Center has also asked hotels and restaurants to follow this new decision and display it on the premises. “A number of complaints from consumers have been received that hotels and restaurants are following the practice of charging ‘service charge’ in the range of 5-20%, in lieu of tips, which a consumer is forced to pay irrespective of the kind of service provided to him,” Union Consumer Affairs Ministry said in an official statement.

In line with this, the Ministry sought clarification from the Hotel Association of India and they said that the “service charge is completely discretionary and should a customer be dissatisfied with the dining experience, he/she can have it waived off. Therefore, it is deemed to be accepted voluntarily.” Very often, customers leave a tip above and beyond the service charge mentioned on the bill and starting now it is something that can be totally waived if the customer is unhappy with the experience and service.

The Ministry said that under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986, this law provides that a trade practice which, for the purpose of promoting the sale, use or the supply of any goods or for the provision of any service, adopts any unfair method or deceptive practice, is to be treated as an unfair trade practice. And a consumer can make a complaint to the appropriate consumer forum against unfair practices.