Ram Vilas Paswan, the Consumer affairs Minister says menu price reflects all expenses.
New Delhi: Consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Wednesday that putting service charge on food and drinks items at hotels is a prejudicial trade practice and customers need not to pay it.
“Our division’s view is that putting service charge is a biased trade practice and customers need not pay,” said the minister. Demanding that there is no meaning of the ‘service charge’ in the act, Mr Paswan said that compelling service charge without the discretion of consumers is an “unfair trade practice”.
The minister had said that the customers should be informed about service charge in the menu card itself and not in the bill at the last. He also stated that in future such cases would be addressed efficiently as a provision has been done in the new Consumer Protection Bill to set up a controller CCPA.
The Bill is probable to get approved in the Budget session of Parliament. He also claimed that there is no necessity to take service charge from customers as price of every food item cited in the menu card is arrived at after calculating in all expenses.
Enlightening the steps that the ministry is taking to limit the unfair trade practice, consumer affairs secretary Hem Pande told, “Hotel managements see that what they are doing is erroneous. We had a gathering with them yesterday. We told them to come up with proposals to address the problem.”
Mr Pande stated that the government cannot take severe action at present as the consumer affairs ministry does not have adequate powers. “Such cases will be efficiently addressed by Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) which will be set up after the latest consumer protection Bill gets approved in Parliament,” he said. CCPA will have all powers to take suo mottu deed on such cases, he said. He said currently the government is making awareness among customers.