A consumer court recently directed a restaurant and pub in Lower Parel to refund the service charges, which, according to a customer, he was “forced to pay”. The complainant alleged that the service and the food at the restaurant “were not up to the mark”. Ashwin Vora, a resident of Kalpataru Habitat in Parel, had filed a complaint at the consumer court saying he visited Tamasha restaurant in Victoria House, Lower Parel, on November 25, 2017, along with his friends and placed an order for food and liquor.
Vora alleged that the service at the restaurant was not satisfactory. According to Vora, when he called for the bill, the restaurant submitted two bills that included service charges of Rs 3,002 while the total bill was Rs 35,035.
Vora, in his complaint, said “he objected to pay service” of Rs 3,002 but the restaurant “forced to pay”. He also stated that the restaurant has recovered service charges illegally and so, he filed a complaint for recovery of the Rs 3,002.
Vora also claimed a compensation of Rs 35,000 and legal expenses of Rs 10,000 for the restaurant. The order of the consumer court says the restaurant representatives remained absent before the court.
As part of evidence, Vora submitted copy of bills showing service charges of Rs 507 and Rs 2,495. Vora also alleged that “the food and services were not up to the mark.”
He added that he “is not bound to pay service charges as charged by the opponent (restaurant)”. Judge B S Wasekar and member S R Sanap of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Central Mumbai, stated the order, since the restaurant has not explained their take on the levy of service charges they are liable to refund it. “The opponent has wrongly recovered the amount from the complainant thereby he suffered from mental agony,” the court said. The court ordered the restaurant to refund the service charge of Rs 3,002 with interest at the rate of 9 per cent per annum from the date of filing, which is January 10, 2018.
The court also directed the restaurant to pay compensation of Rs 5,000, along with cost of litigation of Rs 5,000 within two months.
When The Indian Express contacted Tamasha restaurant, the manager said: “We don’t force anyone to pay service charge. It is written on our menu and outside the restaurant that we apply 10 per cent service tax.” Messages and calls seeking a detailed response from the restaurant remained unanswered.