Service charge

Customers can file complaints against default service charges on food bills

August 03, 2022 | 07:00 IST

Customers can file complaints against default service charges on food bills

Complaint can also be filed electronically via e-daakhil portal www.edaakhil.nic.in for prompt redress.

Team Herald

PANJIM: Customers can now file complaints with their district collectors against hotels and restaurants that levy service charges, either automatically or by default, on food bills.

The state Department of Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs has empowered district collectors to investigate these complaints and submit a report to the Central Authority.

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), under the Department of Consumer Affairs, has banned hotels and restaurants from charging default service charges on food bills. Amid growing complaints, the CCPA released guidelines to prevent unfair business practices and consumer rights violations.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, the Department of Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs said that under Section 17 of the Consumer Protection Act 2019, a complaint relating to breach of consumer rights or unfair business practices, with respect to the collection of service charges, may be filed.

The consumer may lodge a complaint with the National Consumer Helpline (NCH), 1915 and State Consumer Helpline No. 2236758, 1800-11-4000. Complaint can also be filed electronically via e-daakhil portal www.edaakhil.nic.in for prompt redress.

The ministry said that under CCPA guidelines, no hotel or restaurant may require a consumer to pay a service charge and must clearly inform the consumer that the service charge is voluntary, optional and at the discretion of the consumer. Also, the service charge will not be collected by adding it to the food bill and charging the GST on the total amount.