413 complaints in 2021 of forceful service charges, Centre informs Lok Sabha | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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413 complaints in 2021 of forceful service charges, Centre informs Lok Sabha

Jul 28, 2022 11:10 AM IST

On July 4, 2022, the Centre issued fresh guidelines deeming it illegal for restaurants and hotels to levy a service charge without the consent of the diner

413 complaints of levying of service charges without the consent of customers were registered through the national consumer helpline last year, the Centre informed Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

During 2019-20, 658 complaints were filed regarding levy of service charge. (File image)
During 2019-20, 658 complaints were filed regarding levy of service charge. (File image)

The disclosure comes in the backdrop of the government framing rules to bar restaurants from making service charge mandatory.

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Responding to queries of BJP MP Tejasvi Surya and TRS MP BB Patil, union minister of consumer affairs Piyush Goyal said, “During 2019-20, 658 complaints were filed regarding levy of service charge in National Consumer Helpline. For the years 2020-21 and 2021-22, 99 and 413 such complaints were filed respectively.” He added that all complaints have been “disposed” of with either a resolution provided with the concerned eatery or been advised to approach the consumer commission.

Also Read:Service charge debate: Eatery owners hail latest order

Goyal added that the guidelines issued by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) state that hotels and restaurants shall not add service charges to the food bill without “clearly informing” the consumers that “service charge is voluntary, optional and at consumer’s discretion”. However, these guidelines do not prohibit consumers from voluntarily tipping servers.

On July 4, 2022, the Centre issued fresh guidelines deeming it illegal for restaurants and hotels to levy a service charge without the consent of the diner. It added that people cannot be denied entry based on whether or not they consent to such charges and the amount cannot be “collected by adding it along with the food bill and levying GST on the total amount”.

However, a petition filed by the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), challenged CCPA’s July 4 guidelines. Following this, the Delhi High Court on July 20, put a hold on the CCPA’s guidelines.

The next date of hearing on this matter is November 25, which means restaurants, hotels and eateries can continue automatically levying service charges to food bills till then.

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