Service Charges on Food are illegal says advisory

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Are you paying service charges on food and drink bills ! If yes, ask the hotel or restaurant for a refund as charging service charges on food bills is illegal.

The Centre plans to issue an advisory to states asking them to crack down against unfair imposition of service charge on food and drink bills.

Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the service charge does not exist and it is being wrongly charged.

He said his ministry has prepared an advisory on this issue and sent it to the Prime Minister’s Office for approval.

A senior ministry official said the levying of service charge without seeking customer consent will be considered as unfair trade practice under the Consumer Protection Act.

Earlier too on several occasions, Mr. Paswan spoke against unfair imposition of service charge on food bill and had even sought explanation from hotels and restaurants’ bodies.

In January, the Department of Consumer Affairs stated that service charge on food bills is not compulsory and a customer can choose to have it waived if not satisfied with experience.

The states were told to ensure that hotels and restaurants disseminate this information through displays in their premises.