The Department of Consumer Affairs will soon come up with a robust framework to ensure strict compliance by the stakeholders with regard to service charge levied by restaurants and hotels as it adversely affects consumers on a daily basis. The Department held a meeting here today with restaurant associations and consumer organizations on levy of service charge in hotels and restaurants. The meeting was chaired by Secretary of the Department Rohit Kumar Singh. The meeting was attended by major restaurant associations including National Restaurant Association of India and Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India and consumer organizations including Mumbai Grahak Panchayat. During the meeting, major issues raised by the consumers on National Consumer Helpline of the Department relating to service charge such as compulsory levy of service charge, adding the charge by default without express consent of consumer, suppressing that such charge is optional and voluntary and embarrassing consumers, if they resist paying such charge were discussed. Further, guidelines on fair trade practices related to charging of service charge by hotels or restaurants on 21st April 2017 by the Department were also referred to. The restaurant associations observed that when service charge is mentioned on the menu, it involves an implied consent of the consumer to pay the charge. Service charge is used by restaurants or hotels to pay the staff and workers and is not charged for the experience or food served to consumer by the restaurant or hotel.