The central government has issued a fresh set of guidelines for state governments, wherein it has been stated that customers cannot be forced into paying service charge and it is up to the customers to decide if they want to pay extra. Announcing the new guidelines, Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that the new guidelines have been approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office and these are being sent to respective state governments for implementation.
The announcement was made via a series of tweets posted by Paswan. “Service charge is totally voluntary and not mandatory now. Hotels and Restaurants should not decide how much service charge is to be paid by the customer and it should be left to the discretion of customer,” the minister tweeted. This is the second guideline being announced by the government during the last five months regarding service charges levied by hotels and restaurants. As per the new guidelines, restaurants will have to put up a notice at a prominent place, clearly indicating that service charges are voluntary. If a customer is dissatisfied with the services, they can ask for the service charge to be waived off.