Consumer cannot be forced to pay “service charge” in a restaurant: Consumer Forum finds conduct of restaurant contrary to principles of Consumer Protection Act

District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Kolkata Unit-II(Central): While holding against the service charge, charged by a restaurant, Coram of Swapan Kumar Mahanty (President) and Ashoke Kumar Ganguly (Member) directed for return of the amount charged as “service charge” along with compensation.

What led to the filing of the present complaint?

The complainant and his friends went OP-1/Restaurant and found that the restaurant food was of poor quality and the behaviour of the boys was outlandish.

OP-1 issued a bill amounting to Rs 3,563 including 10% service charges though the complainant insisted on not including 10% service charge over the invoiced amount, since service charge is not mandatory, and it is upto the consumer either to pay or refute the same.

To avoid embarrassment, the complainant was compelled to pay the said amount.

In consequence to the above said, complainant, vide a legal notice requested the OP-1 to tender their apology in the appropriate form and further asked to pay compensation to the tune of Rs 25,000 within 15 days.

Since the notice remained unattended, the complainant filed the present complaint.

Analysis and Discussion

Consumer Forum found the conduct of OP-1 as illegal, malafide and contrary to the principles of law as stipulated under the Consumer Protection Act and the OP-1 deliberately failed to ameliorate the grievance of the complainant.

Coram held that OP-1 had committed unfair trade practice towards the complainant.

The OPs must have been aware of the guidelines of Fair Trade Practice related to changing of service charge from the consumers by hotels/restaurant issued by Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, inter alia, stipulating that service charge on hotel and restaurant bill is “totally voluntarily” and not mandatory.

Forum’s Directions

  • OP-1 to refund Rs 308 as service charge over the invoiced amount of Rs 3,085.
  • OP-1 to pay compensation of Rs 10,000 for mental agony and harassment to the complainant.
  • Lastly, OP-1 was directed to pay a sum of Rs 3,000 as litigation cost.

In view of the above, the complaint was disposed off. [Arkadeep Sarkar v. Yauatcha, Kolkata; Complaint Case No. CC/391/2019, decided on 7-1-2022]


Advocates before the Forum:

For the Complainant: Sunil Kumar Gupta, Advocate for Complainant 1


Also Read:

Fair Trade Practices | Service charge despite GST

One comment

  • GOI is charging CGST,SGST,disaster cess,covid cess etc.& still covid+ve cases rising due to open violation of COVID-19 safety guidelines like people not wearing face mask,open defecation on road side by public,no social distancing,less use if sanitizers at restaurants etc.& still govt.concerned authorities are silent not stopping g such violation. Our CGST,SGST,CESS ETC.shoukd be refunded

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