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What the rants against service charge tell us


I have rarely seen such universal condemnation of a practice as the one that erupted when the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) issued its advisory against ‘service charge’ (please note that service charge has not been banned, nor is it an illegal imposition because the courts have upheld it in several judgments). I wonder why we don’t see similar expressions of rage about having to pay processing fees, transaction charges or airport maintenance fees (which are all service charges in different names) on debit/credit card or Paytm transactions, airline tickets, bank services (even for the issue of cheque books and account statements), and online hotel or travel bookings.Should restaurants be penalised for making the ‘mistake’ of mentioning service charge on their bills in a transparent manner?

Well, now that the DCA, with the force of the government behind it, has made consumers aware of their right to refuse to pay service charge, are we prepared for situations, as is common in the US, where servers give us a rough time because they feel they haven’t been tipped enough? Indians are notorious for being stingy about tipping at home, though they don’t utter a word about coughing up mandatory amounts overseas. Will DCA’s action make us more generous while appreciating the services rendered to us? Consumers have earned a right; it is not our responsibility to exercise it generously.

– Sourish Bhattacharyya

Source: Mail Today

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