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Hotels and restaurants can’t force customers to pay service charge, says Centre

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), the government’s top consumer watchdog, on Monday issued guidelines for “preventing unfair trade practices and violation of consumer rights with regard to the levying of service charge in hotels and restaurants.”

In a statement, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said, “The guidelines issued by the CCPA stipulate that hotels or restaurants shall not add service charge automatically or by default in the food bill. No collection of service charge shall be done by any other name.”
“No hotel or restaurant shall force a consumer to pay service charge and shall clearly inform the consumer that service charge is voluntary, optional and at consumer’s discretion,” the statement said.

The statement further said that no restriction on entry or provision of services based on the collection of the service charge shall be imposed on consumers.

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