Hotels, restaurants cannot force consumers to pay service charge. It’s voluntary


“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,” the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)

Written by Harshit Sabarwal | Edited by Sohini Goswami, New Delhi

Hotels and restaurants are now barred from levying service charges automatically or by default on food bills, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) said on Monday, adding customers will be allowed to file complaints in case of violation.

“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,” read guidelines of the CCPA said.

A statement was issued in this regard by the Union consumer affairs, food and public distribution.

Hotels and restaurants cannot force customers to pay service charges and have to inform them that this charge is voluntary, optional and at their (customers) discretion, the consumer panel said.

The guidelines further said there is no restriction on entry or provision of services based on the collection of service charges that shall be imposed on customers.

The service charge can also not be collected by adding it along with the food bill and levying the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the total amount.

In case customers notice that a hotel or restaurant levied a service charge in violation of the above CCPA guidelines, they can request the management of the eatery or stay concerned to remove the same from the bill amount.

They can also complain to the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) by calling 1915 or through the NCH mobile app. The customers can also lodge complaints with the Consumer Commission.

Complaints can also be filed with the e-daakhil portal.


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