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Restaurant to pay for overcharging customer


Chandigarh: The district consumer court forum, Chandigarh directed Chilis Bar and Grill Premier Restaurant to pay Rs 10,000 and refund extra service charge levied illegally. According to the complainant, although the restaurant mentioned on the menu that it would levy service charge at the rate of 10% on the billed amount, they charged service charge on items provided for free. These items were not mentioned in the bill but service charge was levied and added to the bill.

In his complaint, Dr Amandeep Singh Marwaha, a resident of Sector 46 said he, along with his guests, had dinner and beverages at the restaurant and a bill of Rs 1,834 was raised. This included service charge at the rate of 14.13%. The total amount mentioned on the bill was Rs 1,415. As per complainant, services charge @10% comes to Rs 141.50 ps whereas he was charged Rs 200.50 towards the same. Hence, he has been charged service charge at more than 10%.

In their written reply, restaurant authorities contended that the memo of the Chandigarh administration dated October 31, 2014 instructing restaurants and hotels in Chandigarh not to charge service charge from customers was withdrawn and superseded and it was within their right to charge service charge.

However, the main grievance of the complainant, Dr Amandeep Singh Marwaha was not that he was charged service charge but that the tax was levied at more than 10% since the restaurant stated on the menu card that only 10% service charge would be levied.

The restaurant further added that certain items in the bill had a scheme of buy one and get one free. But the restaurant contended that even free items served in the restaurant also have service charge at 10%. Accordingly, although the free items have not been accounted in the total bill, but 10% service charges has been levied.
After hearing, the forum ruled, “Nowhere on the menu card is it mentioned that items which will be served free under some offer will also be levied service charge at 10%. Hence, any prudent man of normal intelligence will understand that any item which is served free will not carry any service charges in the absence of any mention thereof. Thus, we are of the concerted view that the restaurant is deficient in rendering service and indulged into unfair trade practice.
The Forum directed the restaurant to refund Rs 59 overcharged from the complainant towards service charge and to pay Rs 5,000 as compensation for causing mental and physical harassment, besides Rs 5,000 to cover litigation expenses.
Source: TOI

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