Restaurants must clearly state service charge

Restaurants must clearly state service charge

(Bangkok Post file photo)
(Bangkok Post file photo)

Restaurants are being warned they must clearly advise customers in advance if a service charge will be added to their bill, otherwise diners can refuse to pay the extra.

Nuntawan Sakuntanaga, director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said the service charge, and the rate, should be clearly stated on the menu or announced by a sign at the counter or out in front of the restaurant, so that customers are aware of this additional cost.

The service charge became an issue on social media after a lawyer announced that diners have the right to refuse paying this charge. 

Mr Nuntawan said if a restaurants fails to inform a customer in advance but insists on collecting the charge, the consumer can file a complaint via hotline 1569. Officials will be sent to investigate and if the restaurant is found to be at fault it will face a maximum fine of 10,000 baht.

Ms Nuntawan said the department felt the service charge should be around 10%. If they charge more,  restaurants may be found guilty of overcharging, which carries a maximum penalty of a 140,000 baht fine and/or a seven year jail term.

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