PANAJI: The Department of Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs to prevent unfair trade practices and protect consumer interest regards to levy of service charges in hotels, and restaurants, has informed that under Section 17 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, a complaint relating to violation of consumer rights or unfair trade practices which is prejudicial to the interests of Consumer as a class may be forwarded in writing or in the electronic mode of the District collector.
Further, the District Collector is empowered to inquire or investigate such complaints and submit his report to the Central Authority.
Under Section 18(2) (1) of the Act, Central Consumer Protection Authority has issued guidelines to prevent unfair trade practices and protection of consumer interest with regard to the levy of service charges in hotels and restaurants.
To prevent unfair trade practices and protect consumer interest with regards to levying of service charge, the Central Consumer Protection Authority issues the following guidelines;
* No hotel or restaurant shall add a service charge automatically or by default to the bill.
* Service charge shall not be collected from consumers 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.
* No restriction on entry or provision of service based on collection of service charge shall be imposed on consumers.
* Service charge shall not be collected by adding it along with the food bill and levying GST on the total amount.
If there are any violations, consumers can submit their complaints to the District Collector, who will inquire or investigate the same and submit his report to the Central Authority.
The Consumer may lodge a complaint on the National Consumer Helpline (NCH), 1915 and State Consumer Helpline No. 2236758, 1800-11-4000. The Consumer can file a complaint against unfair trade practices with the consumer commission. The complaint can also be filed electronically through the e-daakhil portal www.edaakhil.nic.in for its speedy and effective redressal. The Consumer can submit a complaint to the District Collector of the concerned district for investigation. The complaint may also be sent to the CCPA by e-mail at email@example.com.