April : 21 Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Service after approving govt. guideline, declared that paying up service charge on hotel and restaurant bills is “totally voluntary” and not mandatory.
“The government has approved guidelines on service charge. As per the guidelines, service charge is totally voluntary and not mandatory now,” Paswan tweeted.
“Hotels/restaurants should not decide how much service charge is to be paid by the customer and it should be left to the discretion of customer,” he added.
As per the new guideline, the space for service charge figure will be left blank for customers to fill before making the final payment.
If a consumer suffers violation, a complaint can made at Consumer Court, a senior official from the ministry clarified.
Existing law does not provide for stringent action against those who impose service charge, however a new Consumer Protection Bill under way to implement the new guideline effectively , the official added.
The present guideline comes in the wake of numerous complaints about hotels and restaurants charging ‘service charge’ in the range of 5-20 per cent, in lieu of tips