The Karnataka government has asked eateries to display ‘No service charge will be collected here’ boards.

Karnataka service charge is now totally voluntary if youre dining out Representational Image
news Business Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 13:07

If you are in Karnataka and frequently eat out, you have a reason to cheer, thanks to a pro-consumer initiative by the Karnataka government to implement the Centre’s guidelines on service charges.

The state government has told restaurant owners to make “service charge” fully optional. Currently, service charges are often levied on restaurant goers without consent. The government has also asked eateries to display “No service charge will be collected here” boards.  

"We will shortly convene a meeting of hotel industry representatives and apprise them about the Centre's guidelines. The state government will come out with an order prohibiting hotels and restaurants from collecting service charge from customers." Food and Civil Supplies Minister UT Khader told reporters on Tuesday.

Additionally, restaurants cannot refuse entry to customers who refuse to pay “service charge”.

The minister also said that food inspectors and legal metrology officials will carry out checks to ensure the rule is being implemented.

This announcement by the Karnataka government comes days after Union Minister for Consumer Affairs Ram Vilas Paswan confirmed that service charge is voluntary.

 “The government has approved guidelines on service charge. As per the guidelines, service charge is totally voluntary and not mandatory now,” the minister tweeted on April 21.

 

 

“It is only after completing the meal that the customer is in a position to assess the quality of service and decides on the quantum of tip to be paid. Hotels should not force customers to pay service charge for a service they may not have enjoyed.

The service charge column in the bill should be left blank and must clearly display it is voluntary,” TOI quoted an extract of the Centre’s guidelines.

More awareness among consumers is the need of the hour because other businesses offering services like salons are also levying service charge, a senior Consumer Affairs Ministry official told PTI.

The PTI report said under current laws, the ministry itself can't impose hefty fines or other stringent action. 

The Siddaramaiah government has made other pro-consumer initiatives in this year's budget including the capping of cinema ticket prices at Rs 200.

Karnataka will go to polls next year. 

 

 

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