The Free Media


Nagpur: The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) on Monday barred hotels and restaurants for levying service charges ‘automatically or by default’ to protect the interests of the customers.

The Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution in a statement said, “The guidelines issued by CCPA stipulate that hotels or restaurants shall not add service charge automatically or by default in the food bill. No collection of service charge shall be done by any other name.”

It further added that no hotel or restaurant shall force a consumer to pay the service charge and shall clearly inform the consumer that the service charge is voluntary, optional, and at the consumer’s discretion.

Restaurants usually levy a service charge of 10 percent on the food bill. The guidelines issued by the CCPA also read that service charges shall not be collected from consumers by any other name. “No restriction on entry or provisions of services based on a collection of service charge shall be imposed on consumers.”

What can a consumer/customer do if there’s a case of violation of guidelines?

Firstly, the consumer can make a request to the restaurant/ hotel to remove the service charge from the bill. Second, he or she can lodge a complaint with the National Consumer Helpline (NCH), which works as an alternative dispute redressal mechanism at the pre-litigation level.

Third, the consumer can complain to the Consumer Commission, or through the edaakhil portal,

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