A day after the Center announced it would soon publish a “robust framework” to ensure strict compliance with its 2017 guidelines, which prohibit charging for the service by hotels and restaurants, the Minister for Consumer Affairs, ‘Food and Distribution Public Union’ Piyush Goyal said restaurants cannot ask customers to pay hidden charges.
Addressing a press conference, Goyal said: “You [restaurants] can increase the salaries of your workers by increasing the rates. There is no ban on this. We would be delighted if they increased the salaries of their employees. They are free to increase the salaries of their employees and they are free to charge any rate.
“By chhal se chhupa hua ek rate aur wo bhi kuch charge karte hain kuchh nahin karte hai… to connect ko kaise maloom padega ki kya real price hai. (But [they cannot charge] a tariff hidden by deception, that too, some charge and some do not. In this situation, how will people know what the real price is?),” Goyal said, in response to a question.
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Goyal’s remarks came a day after the Department of Consumer Affairs held a meeting with restaurant associations, during which representatives of the restaurant association defended their position on the issue of service charges and declared that the collection of the service charge was neither illegal nor contrary to law. However, the Consumer Affairs Department said it will soon release a “robust framework” to ensure strict compliance with its 2017 guidelines, which prohibit hotels and restaurants from charging for the service.