New Delhi, April 14: Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said today the government may issue an advisory to Indian states to prevent unjustified service tax on food and drink bills."Service charge does not exist. It is being wrongly charged. We have prepared an advisory on this issue. We have sent it to the PMO for approval," Paswan told. After Prime Minister's Office (PMO) approval the advisory will be issued to all states and union territories.
No one can force customers to pay the service charge if they do not want. If any restaurants do so that would be taken as unfair trade practice under Consumer Protection act. Menu cards should show the service charge. In January, the Department of Consumer Affairs stated that customers are not bound to pay the service charge."
After the number of complaints from consumers has been received that hotels and restaurants are following the practice of charging 'service charge', they have decided to take the step."Our Department's view is that imposing service charge is an unfair trade practice and consumers need not pay," Paswan had said in January.In future, such cases would be addressed effectively by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) proposed in the new Consumer Protection Billwastagealso should not be entertained.