Going out to eat? Read this before you pay your bill
The consumer affairs department of the central government has again reminded us that service charge being charged by eateries, cafes and restaurants is unlawful.
It has advised the customers to move to consumer court if any restaurant or hotel applies service charge in the bill.
Initially, in April, notifications were issued that service charge is totally on the discretion of the customer and a restaurant cannot compulsorily charge it. It has to be voluntary, like tip given to waiters.
No restaurants and hotels are authorised to extract service charge from the customers. However, this is being flouted routinely, and a lot of restaurants across India are continuing with the old practice of service charge.
National level association of restaurant owners has said that there is nothing illegal in service charge, and guidelines are not laws. As per them, they are not violating any laws.
Hindustan Times quoted Prakul Kumar, the secretary of NRAI(National Restaurant Association of India), “Guidelines are not laws. The present statements by the government are causing unnecessary confusion in public, which is adversely affecting the smooth functioning of restaurants. It is once again reiterated that as of now levy of service charge by restaurants is legal and does not violate provisions of the law.”