Collecting service charges is expensive for the restaurant | Hyderabad News

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HYDERABAD: Observing that levying service charge in addition to Goods and Services Tax (GST) amounts to an unfair business practice, the Consumer Dispute Redress Commission of District – I, Hyderabad ordered AnTeRa Kitchen and Bar to refund the costs to the customer and also pay an additional 3,000 as compensation.
The consumer forum asked the restaurant to refrain from collecting service fees from customers in the future.
Rajashekar K, the plaintiff, said he went to dinner at AnTeRa with his friends on August 27, 2021. He said the restaurant presented an invoice of 3,543, which also included a service charge of 164.95, i.e. 5% of the invoice.
When the Complainant, who is a practicing solicitor, called the steward and asked him to remove the said component and allow him to tip to his satisfaction, he was informed by the steward that he had no instructions from management in this regard and any complaint by the complainant would cost him his job.
Rajashekar said he resisted paying the service charge but the manager even told him that it was the right of the restaurant to charge the service charge and the same was even stated on the menu card .
Having no alternative, the complainant authorized the invoice. Subsequently, the complainant served a formal notice on September 13, but received no response. Therefore, he filed this lawsuit against the restaurant for illegally pocketing the service charge.
The opposing party was put in exparte because it did not deposit the vakalat with an appropriate seal.
During the trial, the bench said the restaurant deliberately failed and/or neglected to consider the plaintiff’s grievance.
“When the complainant objected to the payment of the service fee, the opposing party should not have forced him to pay the same. It is at the discretion of the client to pay the amount if he likes the services. The opposing party committed an unfair trade practice against the plaintiff and there was a lack of service from the opposing party,” the bench said.
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