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Pay or Don't Pay - Service Charge is no more Obligatory in Restaurants - Fooditter
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Pay or Don’t Pay – Service Charge is no more Obligatory in Restaurants

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We, as consumers, having been paying “Service Charge” in restaurants or hotels for quite some time now regardless of the kind of service we get from them. But now, it is up to consumers wish whether or not to pay the service charge.

Doesn’t matter whether it is 2-star restaurant or 7-star, if you are not happy with the restaurant service you can straight away refuse to pay the service charge.

On 2nd Jan 2017, The Department of Consumer Affairs has clarified that service charge, thereby, cannot be mandatorily applied by restaurants and hotels. Consumers have the full liberty to have it waived off if they are not satisfied with the restaurant or hotel services.

This step was taken in the wake of numerous complaints that restaurants and hotels have been following the practice of charging “Service Tax” since ages from 4% to 20%, instead of tips, despite the sort of service rendered to the consumer.

After receiving a number of complaints, the department of Consumer Affairs sought a clarification from the Hotel Association of India. In the same regard, the DCA said, “The service charge is totally optional and if a customer is displeased with the dining experience then he or she has full discretion to have it waived off. Consequently, it is considered to be accepted voluntarily.”

The DCA also quoted that the mandatory service charge is an unfair trade practice, according to The Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The Act says that a trade practice (https://goo.gl/1bptA5) is unfair which uses defect in goods and deficiencies in services and a consumer can make a complaint to the concerned consumer forum that is established supporting the Act against before-mentioned unfair trade practices.

However, there are people who think that a service charge is not only something that a diner pays to appreciate the restaurant’s service but also a part of the waiters’ monthly salary as 60-70% of that will be distributed among them. So it is basically it is a way for them to earn some extra income.

Well, customers are happy for time being since they get to save 10% on the bill but if this continues then there are higher chances for restaurants to raise their menu prices to cover up the missing income. This ultimately will get the total bill amount back to the pavilion.

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