Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Poor service at Le Chef Restaurants in Sector 37 Faridabad viz-a-viz charging of service charges by Restaurants and Hotels

Poor dining service at Le Chef Restaurants in Sector 37 Faridabad viz-a-viz charging of service charges by Restaurants and Hotels

Department of Consumer Affairs has brought out a press release advising Restaurants and Hotels not to charge service charge compulsorily into the food bill and waive off the same if the diners do not wish to pay. The ground realities seems to be different specially in view of various media reports. I have also stated in my various posts in this blog that the Restaurants have been adapting to unethical business practices in charging service charge compulsorily and also wrong charging of VAT on 100% value of the food bill.

I have visited a restaurant in Sector 37 Faridabad named Le Chef. The restaurant were earlier charging service charge by clubbing with the VAT thus misleading the diners. A bill is given below:
As can be seen above that Le Chef charged VAT at the rate of 28.13% in their bill No. 1010 dtd. 29/05/2015. Over and above an amount of Rs. 100/- was also paid as 'Tip' as the immediate glance of the bill indicated that the restaurant has not charged any service charge. However, when glancing again later on, the asterik below indicated that VAT charged was including 15% as service charge. Hence the Restaurant owner has charged for the tip two times, one by misleading the diners and 2nd time at the time of taking tip separately. Ideally the charging of service charge by adding in the VAT should have been treated as crime and the books of account should have been seized by the Trade Tax Authorities.

The matter was referred to Trade Tax, Haryana. The Trade Tax Department was requested to confirm as to whether the Le Chef has paid whole amount of the VAT charged in the bill to the tax authority as charged under the head 'VAT'.  However, nothing happened leading to believe that  Trade Tax Department must be hand in glove for such evasion. 

Again visited Le Chef Restaurant with 8 more guests on 13/01/2017 to celebrate famous "Lohiri" festival. Surprisingly the service of the Restaurant was so poor that it was very difficult to entertain the guest. The soup served was cold. Even the dishes were taken off from the table after quite a long time. When the main course was to be served, the waiter did not serve the bowls. On demanding the bowls, the waiter supplied plastic bowl. On asking, the waiter informed that the "की बर्तन सब झूठे पड़े हैं. ". We had no other option but just to remain silent in the best interest of the guest entertainment. We were surprised to receive the bill for an amount of Rs. 2,682/- which was including an amount of Rs. 206 towards service charge. 
The quality of the service was too cheap that we decided not to pay the tip of Rs. 206 charged as service charge. In the light of the press release of Department of Consumer Affairs, we asked cashier to waive off the service charge as we do not wish to pay. The cashier refused to do so and asked that this amount has to be paid irrespective of whether the service was good or bad. A feedback to the restaurant was handed over followed by a complaint by email. The Restaurant owner in the first instance itself should have contacted the diner after getting the feedback, had the Restaurant owner a quality conscious and there should not have been no occasion to complain subsequently. Having no response received from the Restaurant, the complaint was taken up by email on 16th January 2017.

A copy of the complaint to Le Chef is reproduced below. However, there is no response laeding to believe that the Restaurant is following unethical business practice and the service need to be rated as poorest. 

Email Complaint to Le Chef:
"We in the group of none (9) person including 6 guests had visited your restaurant on 13/01/2017. We all including guest had a very poor experience while dining. The daal and sabzi was served at the cold temperature. Not only the cool, it was served in disposable bowls saying " बर्तन झूठे पड़े हैं इसलिए यही कटोरियां हैं. "
We all were shocked to see the waiter response. We did not speak at that time to create any awkward situation. We were further surprised when the waiter and the cashier even refused to reverse service charge of Rs. 206.70 being 10% of food value+VAT+ service tax etc. The same were charged in compulsion against the principle of Consumer Protection Act 1986. Department of Consumer Affairs had already directed that the service charges need to be optional and waived off if the consumer wishes so. This was referred to cashier who stated that it is compulsorily and do not care for the directions issued by Govt. of India.
A copy of the bill number GF/170113/8 is attached for ready reference for your further appropriate action else the matter shall be referred to appropriate authorities including publishing appropriately on the public domain."

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