Department of consumer affairs has just come up with some good news. Now onwards, service charge payment at any restaurant is optional for customers.
Restaurants have been billing service charge ranging from 5 to 20 percent in lieu of tips. After receiving numerous complaints regarding this in the consumer forum, the Department of Consumer Affairs sought clarification from the Hotels Association of India. The latter confirmed that service charge was completely discretionary and should a customer be dissatisfied with the dining experience he/she can have it waived off. Therefore, it is deemed to be accepted voluntarily.
Recognizing service charge as an unfair trade practice under Consumer Protection Act 1986, the Centre directed the state governments to make restaurants and hotels aware of this new policy and put up notices regarding optionality of paying service charge.
So next time you plan a dine out, and for some reason are unhappy with the service, you can happily refuse service charge tagged onto your bill amount.
On the flip side, this might actually work in favor of restaurants and hotels as price sensitive customers might end up visiting more increasing their customer traffic. Now that’s a win-win for everyone.