No, the service charge is not mandatory!

By Shreyashi Mukherjee

Many customers are still unaware of the guidelines issued; restaurants say they waive this fee when asked

It’s been a few months since the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has issued guidelines prohibiting restaurants from automatically adding a service charge to the bill. But nearly three months later – the guidelines were released on July 4 – many customers are still unaware of the change and restaurants are still collecting these fees.

The guidelines were issued after the Department of Consumer Affairs said it had received complaints from consumers that they were often charged service fees at an extremely high rate.

Rajajinagar resident Kaustubh Meher said, “I was not aware of the rules that paying service charge is optional in restaurants here. Also, the restaurants I visited also didn’t tell me that we had the option to withdraw the amount from the bill, so I ended up paying it.

Some customers also say that even though they noticed the service charge in their bills, they still didn’t say anything about it because the amount was minimal.

Aastha Gorle, pub customer in Church Street said, “I noticed that a service charge had been added to my bill. However, I didn’t decide to say anything about it because even if we had removed that amount, the total wouldn’t have made much difference. In fact, I noticed that a service charge was added in not just one but many places, but the amount is minimal. But if I see that the amount charged as a service charge is a big chunk, I would definitely choose not to pay that.

We have not received any consumer complaints

– Siddharth K, manager, resto-bar

Sharmistha Dey, a resident of Indiranagar, added that she too ignores the service charge because “I feel like during covid these restaurants have suffered a lot, especially the waiters.” “Even if I hadn’t paid the service charge, I would have used the money to tip the waiter anyway,” she added.

Restaurants say if customers ask them to waive the service charge, they do.

Siddharth K, manager of a resto-bar on MG Road, said: ‘We charge a service charge but it’s completely voluntary. We have not received any customer complaints regarding the imposition of service charges. However, if the customer refuses to pay the service fee, we will accept it. »

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