Dining - Extra charges
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Certain restaurants will add extra charges or a compulsory service charge to your bill, while others will leave it up to you.
You only have to pay the service charge if it is made clear verbally or in writing before the meal.
If the restaurant doesn't make this clear or if the service is poor, you don't have to pay this charge.
Under the Consumer Rights Act the restaurant has to use reasonable care and skill when providing its service. If the restaurant fails to do so, you can argue that the compulsory charge doesn't form part of your contract.
- Always try to resolve your issue while you're still at the restaurant
- Notices limiting the restaurant's liability must be prominently displayed
- The food should be of a ‘satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described’
- Service must be carried out with ‘reasonable care and skill’ and ‘within a reasonable time’
- Restaurants are only responsible for damage to personal items if it is due to negligence on the part of the restaurant
The Consumer Rights Act
The majority of your rights come from the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The Consumer Rights Act sets out what you should expect when you pay for a restaurant meal. It also outlines what you should expect when things aren't up to a reasonable standard.
Certified third-party mediators, called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) providers, are available to all businesses to help when a dispute cannot be settled directly with the consumer. The system offers a quicker and cheaper way of resolving disputes than going via the courts. Once the internal complaint process is exhausted, businesses must give the consumer details of a certified ADR provider and tell the consumer if it is willing to use them. However, businesses do not have to use ADR unless they operate in a sector where existing legislation makes it mandatory, such as in financial services.
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