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  Business   In Other News  15 Apr 2017  Centre missive on service charge soon

Centre missive on service charge soon

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Apr 15, 2017, 2:26 am IST
Updated : Apr 15, 2017, 2:26 am IST

The ministry also plans to make it mandatory for food items to have only one MRP.

Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan
 Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan

New Delhi: In a move expected to bring down the prices of food served in restaurants, the government on Friday said that it would soon issue an advisory to all states to stop charging service charge, which is an unfair practice.

The advisory, which has been framed by the department of consumer affairs has been sent to the Prime Minister’s Office for clearance and would be sent to the states as soon as the PMO clears it, food and consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan said.

The ‘service charges’ are discretionary or voluntarily and if a consumer is dissatisfied with the services, he or she can have it waived off, he said.

According to ministry officials, no customer should be forced to pay service charge. If customers want they can pay a tip to waiters or give their consent to levy the charge in the bill. The levying of service charge without seeking customer consent will be considered as unfair trade practice under the Consumer Protection Act.

Such an advisory will be useful for voluntary consumer organisations fighting for consumer rights.

In the future, such cases would be addressed effectively by the Central Consumer Protection Authority proposed in the new Consumer Protection Bill.

The ministry also plans to make it mandatory for food items to have only one MRP.  There cannot be two MRPs except in accordance with the law.

Mr Paswan said adding that the Department of Consumer Affairs has directed state governments and union territories to stop the practice of dual MRP on packaged water.

The minister informed that the BCCI has already complied with the directions and issued an advisory to sale packaged mineral water on single MRP during cricket matches with immediate effect.

Tags: service charge, ram vilas paswan, consumer protection act