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CCPA Guidelines: Here's What Customer Can Do If Restaurant Levies Service Charge To Bill


Customer can lodge a complaint on the National Consumer Helpline, which works as an alternative dispute redressal mechanism at the pre-litigation level

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) on Monday barred hotels and restaurants from levying service charge by default in food bills. Service charge will be a voluntary option at customers’ discretion which the hotels have to clearly inform the consumer. The new guidelines issued by the authority has also allowed customers to file complaints with CCPA in case of violation. 

Latest CCPA Guidelines

The CCPA has issued new guidelines under Section 18 (2) (I) of The Consumer Protection Act, 2019. These are in addition to the Centre’s 2017 guidelines which prohibit restaurants from levying service charges on consumers, and terms the charging for anything other than “the prices displayed on the menu card along with the applicable taxes” without “express consent” of the customer as “unfair trade practices”. 

There are five major guidelines associated with the service charge levied by restaurants and hotels, which had remained a contentious issue for a long-time triggering complaint from consumers. The new guidelines are a s below:

  • No hotel or restaurant shall add service charge automatically or by default in the bill
  • Service charge shall not be collected from consumers by any other name
  • No hotel or restaurant shall force a consumer to pay service charge and shall clearly inform the consumer that service charge is voluntary, optional, and at the consumer's discretion
  • No restriction on entry or provision of services based on collection of service charge shall be imposed on consumers
  • Service charge shall not be collected by adding it along with the food bill and levying GST on the total amount.

What consumers can do in case of violation

There are a few options that the customer can exercise at different levels of escalation if charged with service tax in a bill.

  • You can make a request to the hotel or restaurant to remove the service charge from the bill.
  • Customer can also lodge a complaint on the National Consumer Helpline (NCH), which works as an alternative dispute redressal mechanism at the pre-litigation level. Such a complaint can be lodged by calling on 1915, or on the NCH mobile app.
  • The consumer can complain to the Consumer Commission through the edaakhil portal,
  • The consumer can submit a complaint to the District Collector of the concerned district for investigation and subsequent proceedings will be done by the CCPA.
  • A consumer can also complain directly to the CCPA by sending an e-mail to

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