If you often eat in restaurants or cafes, you must be aware of how you are subjected to paying a service charge irrespective of your dining experience. The practice of levying service charges continues in many eateries. While some restaurants remove it if you refuse to pay extra bucks for service, a few places deny to do so.
A guy faced similar issue at a pub in Bengaluru. He took to Reddit to share his experience of how he got the service charge removed from the bill. No, it wasn’t that easy.
In his post, the Reddit user (u/snoopysapien) mentioned that he dialled the National Consumer Helpline: 1915 after he was denied to remove the service charge by the pub. “I usually request removal of the service charge on my restaurant bill, and I haven’t faced any push back until I visited Oia, a pub in Hennur. I had a hard time getting the service charged removed. It had took me around 30 mins to get the service charge removed after calling the National Consumer Helpline...” an excerpt from his post reads.
“…The person on the helpline asked me to put the manager on phone. Finally they agreed to remove the service charge,” the post concludes.
Here’s how other Redditors reacted to it:
1. “Congratulations I wish everyone stood up to this. People don’t realise that restaurants charging service charges is the first step towards them giving bellow living wages (sic).” Still-Anxiety
2. “Not all heroes wear capes (sic).” Upstairs_Crab_8443
3. “These days restaurants are damn expensive. Everything being 240 and above is a norm. Worst part is even random cheap shack type restaurants are also charging so much. The service charge at pubs is atrocious. Firstly there is a crazy mark up for beer and liquor. One large is like 25% of the bottle cost..(sic).” Ataraxia_new
4. “These service charges are nothing but day light looting. Lot of restaurants, hotels are owned by politicians (and that’s) why service charges are not banned (sic).” timetraveler1990
5. “I had a similar argument with Oia for about 15 minutes. I gave up and paid the charge. Will remember this helpline now ! Not that it matters, but Oia should be the last one asking for a service charge given how shitty their food is plus the horrendous service they provide (sic).” ninja790
6. “Thanks for doing this. India would have been a much better place with more citizens like you (sic).” Flaky-Till-478
7. “The issue with service charge is that the cost is an additional burden levied on top of paying a premium towards the food/drinks we have already ordered in the first place. Moreover, I highly doubt the service charges go towards the workers, but rather is hogged by the owners themselves….(sic).” HydroVector
8. “Thank you for bringing this and educating us. Sometimes I wonder – In a larger picture, are we living our lives the way intended or are we just minions of govt and corporates. You earn, save and pay the govt. Then ask/fight with the govt to get your own money back. Fight these corporate customers care/service providers and fix the mess on your own. Remember the rules from traffic to tax and follow them(especially middle class), [sic].” imti283
9. “Most guys don’t stand up against this service charge thing because they think too much about their surroundings. What people they came with will think of them if they argue about it. ETC. Everybody needs to be vigilante enough regarding this, I think this is the most shitty thing any restaurant does. Most waiters don’t even fucking treat you well and you’re expected to pay them a tip. Bullshit (sic).” Thin-Contribution-45
10. “Asked the server to remove service charge at Byg Brewski and his tone instantly changed and he looked pretty annoyed. He was smiling to me throughout the entire lunch. He asked thrice if that is necessary and I said yes (sic).” interestingindeeed
According to an April 12, 2023, report by Live Law, the Delhi High Court stated that an interim order staying the guidelines of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) about service charges should not be used to mislead consumers.
“It is clarified that the interim order shall not be shown in the display board or menu card in a manner to mislead the consumer that the service charge has been approved by this court,” the court said back then.
Do you pay service charge in restaurants or cafes? If yes, do you think it should be a mandatory practice or choice-based option?