7 in 10 consumers unhappy with staying on CCPA restaurant service fee standards, complaints report

Nearly seven in 10 consumers are unhappy with the Delhi High Court’s decision to suspend recent government guidelines banning restaurants from automatically levying service charges on food bills, a new report recently showed.

Last week, Delhi HC suspended new guidelines from the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) preventing restaurants from adding default service charges to food bills.

A new Local circles A survey found that 70% of respondents plan to either refuse to pay service tax or avoid restaurants that charge it.

“Consumer contention is that most customers in air-conditioned restaurants tend to tip staff in the normal course based on the quality of service,” the results showed.

A breakdown of those opposed to service charges shows that 20% plan to fight and not pay the additional charge, 37% of respondents plan to avoid restaurants that charge service charges, while 13% plan to avoid eating in restaurants.

In other cases, 28% expressed a willingness to pay a service fee if it was part of the bill, while 2% of respondents were undecided about their course of action. LocalCircles conducted a nationwide survey that received over 21,000 responses from consumers located in 291 districts.

Asked about their experiences, of those with poor or poor service experiences, 23% said it had happened once or twice, 18% said it had happened three to five times, and even worse, 24 % of respondents said this happened up to 6-10 times while 6% were among those who had a bad service experience despite having service charges taken from the bill, more than 10 times.

LocalCircles said it would share the findings of this report with the CCPA and the consumer department so that they move to defend the rights of consumers.

In his response to the verdict, the National Restaurant Association of India (Nrai) said he had always been adamant that there was nothing illegal about charging service fees and that it was a very transparent system.

The CCPA said the consumer can ask the hotel or restaurant concerned to remove the service charge from the amount of the bill. The consumer may also lodge a complaint against unfair commercial practices with the Consumer Commission.

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