As the complaints regarding service charges surged rapidly in the last four days, Central Consumer. Protection Authority (CCPA) chief Nidhi Khare clarified that the guidelines should not be considered as advice, similarly, even the government in notification pointed out new norms are not just advice.
The difference between the new guidelines issued by the CCPA and the previous guidelines by the Department of Consumer Affairs is that, in the intervening period, the erstwhile Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was replaced with the Consumer Protection Act 2019, which came into effect in July 2020, the official notification of the government said.
“It created a new statutory body i.e., the Central Consumer Protection Authority, which has been empowered by the Parliament to take cognisance of the unfair trade practices,” the notification added
Therefore, any violation of the guidelines will be viewed seriously, and appropriate action will be taken for unfair trade guidelines and violating the rights of consumers, the government further said.
Complaints on National Consumer Helpline regarding service charges have increased rapidly in the last 4 days.
– At present, the maximum number of cases are from Delhi (18) have been registered with National Consumer Helpline regarding service charge, a Zee Business report said. A total of 85 complaints have been lodged after the new guidelines were issued on July 4, 2022.
Delhi is followed by Bangalore (15), Mumbai (11), Pune (4) and Ghaziabad (3) in service charge complaint, the report mentioned.
The CCPA barred hotels and restaurants from levying service charge automatically or by default in food bills and allowed customers to file complaints in case of violation and issued guidelines for preventing unfair trade practices and violation of consumer rights about levying of service charge.
Restaurants and hotels generally levy a service charge of 10 per cent on the food bill, PTI said in its report.