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Wednesday, 04 January, 2017, 12 : 00 PM [IST]

FHRAI delegation meets officials of Department of Consumer Affairs demanding review of ‘Service Charge’ notification

A delegation of Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) met top officials of the Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India and demanded a review of the notification that the department has issued yesterday against hotels and restaurants charging ‘Service Charge’ as part of the invoice without the consent of the consumer.

The FHRAI delegation in their memorandum to the Department of Consumer Affairs said that the government notification would “create unnecessary chaos and disruption of smooth functioning of the restaurants in the country, as well as expose restaurants to unnecessary litigation.”

 The delegation has also placed on record various judgments by the apex consumer court in the country and the Supreme Court itself on the issue of Service charge from time to time, declaring it fair and valid.

After meeting the Deputy Secretary (CPU), Department of Consumer Affairs, Amitabh Devendra, Secretary General, FHRAI expressed the hope that the government would “review” the matter taking all aspects of the issue into consideration. “Service Charge is not an unfair trade practice. It’s business model accepted everywhere. The only thing is that it should be adequately advertised or prominently displayed. When it is disclosed in advance, it becomes part of a contract,” he said.

 Invoking the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the central department had notified that ‘service charge’ is “completely discretionary” and can only be “accepted voluntarily” from the consumers by hospitality establishments.
 
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