India: Service charge on restaurant bill not mandatory

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The Department of Consumer Affairs on 2 January 2017 said that service charges on a restaurant bill in addition to taxes are optional and the consumer has the discretion to pay a service charge or not. Customers dissatisfied with service at any hotel or restaurant can choose not to pay the service charge as this charge is optional or discretionary as per the Consumer Protection Act, according to an official statement.

The Department of Consumer Affairs, in a statement, also asked state governments to advise hotels and restaurants to disseminate information, for example through displays, that “the service charges are discretionary or voluntary”.

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