The CCPA has issued guidelines for preventing unfair trade practices & violations of consumer rights with regard to levying of service charges. As per the guidelines, "No hotels or restaurants shall add service charge automatically or by default in the bill."

No hotel or restaurant can force a consumer to pay a service charge. They have to clearly inform the consumer that the service charge is voluntary, optional, and at the consumer's discretion.

   

Hotels, restaurants barred from levying service charge

WHAT?

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) on Monday barred hotels and restaurants from levying service charge automatically or by default in food bills and allowed customers to file complaints in case of violation.

HOW?

As per the guidelines, "No hotels or restaurants shall add service charge automatically or by default in the bill."

There should not be any collection of service charge by any other name, it added.

No hotel or restaurant can force a consumer to pay service charge. They have to clearly inform the consumer that service charge is voluntary, optional and at consumer's discretion.

Further, service charge cannot be collected by adding it along with the food bill and levying GST on the total amount.

If any consumer finds that a hotel or restaurant is levying service charge in violation of the guidelines, s/he can request the concerned establishment to remove it from the bill amount.

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The consumers can also lodge a complaint on the National Consumer Helpline (NCH), which works as an alternate dispute redressal mechanism at the pre-litigation level, by calling 1915 or through the NCH mobile app.