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Shillong: Meghalaya’s East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Isawanda Laloo warned of action against the violators of the Central Consumer Protection Authority’s (CCPA) guidelines barring hotels and restaurants from levying service charges by default.

On 4 July, the CCPA came out with new guidelines barring hotels and restaurants from levying service charges automatically or by default in food bills.

“No collection of service charge shall be done by any other name. No hotel or restaurant shall force a consumer to pay the service charge and shall clearly inform the consumer that service charge is voluntary, optional and at the consumer’s discretion,” the guidelines stated.

The guideline also stated that a service charge shall not be collected by adding it along with the food bill and levying GST on the total amount.

Under Section 17 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, a complaint relating to violation of the guidelines by hotels/restaurants, violation of consumer rights or unfair trade practices which is prejudicial to the interests of consumers as a class may be forwarded in writing or in electronic mode to the Deputy Commissioner for investigation and subsequent processing by the CCPA.

The DC added that as per instruction of the Chief Commissioner, Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) dated July 6, 2022, necessary action will be taken on complaints that may be submitted by consumers.

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