Oct – 15: NEWS FLASH

  • Posted by CERC India
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Service charges are retained by restaurants


The Ministry of Finance has clarified that service charges collected by restaurants, hotels or eateries and retained by them are not ‘service tax’ imposed by the Government. The Ministry has also stated that the effective service tax rate, 14% on 40% of the overall bill (effectively 5.6%), shall only be charged by AC restaurants/hotels.

‘Service charge’ is the amount charged for the services provided by the restaurant. There are no guidelines for the same but restaurants usually charge between 5% and 20%. Unless service charges are mentioned on the menu card, consumers can refuse to pay them. If your bill includes service charge, you do not have to give tips. Value Added Tax (VAT) charged is also applicable only to food items prepared inside the restaurant and not to packaged food items. Also, no ‘Service tax’ should be charged on either ‘Service charge’ or VAT. Many restaurants add ‘Service charge’ and VAT to the bill and then levy ‘Service tax’ to this total amount, which is wrong. So be alert.

RBI wants internal ombudsmen in banks


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has advised all public sector banks and some private sector and foreign banks to appoint an internal ombudsman who would be designated Chief Customer Service Officer (CCSO). The person should not have worked in the bank in which he/she is appointed as CCSO.

RBI has taken this initiative to boost the quality of customer service and to ensure that there is undivided attention to resolution of customer complaints in banks. The bank’s internal ombudsman will be a forum available to bank customers for grievance redressal before they consider approaching the Banking Ombudsman. The private sector and foreign banks which have been asked to appoint a CCSO are ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, IndusInd Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Citibank N.A. and HSBC.

Advt cap on TV channels: I&B Ministry responds


Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Mr. Arun Jaitley, had spoken a while ago about the 12-minute an hour advt cap stipulated by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) indicating that the Government is not in favour of this restriction. CERS wrote to the I&B Ministry protesting against the proposed change.

In response, the I&B Ministry, informed us that broadcasters had initially approached the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) against the TRAI regulation. The Supreme Court had apparently held that TDSAT had no jurisdiction to adjudicate TRAI regulations. As a result, broadcasters have approached the Delhi High Court and the matter is sub judice.

Windows 10 available for free


Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 is now available as a free upgrade or with new PCs and tablets up to August 2016. Windows 10, the most secure Windows ever, includes several innovations for a familiar, secure, yet more personal and productive experience.

Those with Windows 7 and 8, as well as Windows Phone 8.1 installed on their devices will be able to get the latest version free. If you don’t have Windows 7 or later versions, you may have to pay for the upgradation. More than 1500 retail stores across the country will help consumers in upgrading to Windows 10.

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