Home Money A restaurant billed me for ‘mandatory’ 15% service charge. Is that even legal? Consumer lawyer DEAN DUNHAM replies

A restaurant billed me for ‘mandatory’ 15% service charge. Is that even legal? Consumer lawyer DEAN DUNHAM replies

by Elijah
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Bitter taste: A restaurant charged a reader and his friends what they called a service charge



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I went to a restaurant with a group of friends and the bill had a 15 per cent service charge, which added £52 to the total.

The restaurant said it was a “mandatory” charge as we had over ten people in our party, but at no point were we told this would be the case.

NP, Newcastle.

Dean Dunham responds: If a restaurant wants to charge a “mandatory service charge” to consumers, it must clearly communicate this to the customer beforehand.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 makes it clear that key terms (such as the obligation to pay a service charge) must be highlighted so that the consumer is aware of them before entering into the contract, i.e. before committing to the restaurant reservation .

A restaurant billed me for mandatory 15 service charge Is

Bitter taste: A restaurant charged a reader and his friends what they called a “mandatory” 15% service charge, which amounted to a hefty £52.

This rule is particularly important when a specific term is not usually present, as in your case.

Service charges are almost always “discretionary” in restaurants, so without express prior notice, a reasonable diner would believe this to be the case.

Therefore, you should ask the restaurant manager when they gave you this important information about the mandatory service charge and how it stood out.

If the answer is that they told you at the time the bill was introduced, this is not enough.

This information must be provided before committing to the restaurant reservation.

In these circumstances, my view is that the service charge will not have formed part of the contract between your party and the restaurant and therefore you should require a refund.

Where a service charge is mandatory (and this has been clearly communicated), you can still refer to it and demand a reduction if you believe the service you received was below standard.

So, if waiters kept your party waiting for long periods of time, you could argue that the restaurant has violated the Consumer Rights Act, which says that “services” must be provided with “reasonable care and skill.”

Can I return a used mobility vehicle?

I received a brochure at my door about used mobility vehicles for sale.

I phoned the workshop to make an inquiry and ended up agreeing to buy one over the phone for £14,995.

The first time I used it I knew I had made a mistake but I didn’t think I could help it. Foolishly, I hadn’t seen it in person before purchasing it.

However, friends told me it had a 14 day cooling off period and I could have returned it, but no one told me.

LW, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex.

Dean Dunham responds: The good news is that under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013, consumers generally have the right to change their mind about goods purchased ‘remotely’ if they notify the trader within 14 days of delivery and then return the goods within 14 days of delivery. that.

“Remote” means a purchase made from any location other than the merchant’s usual physical place of business. These rules apply whether you buy on a website, over the phone, at a market stall or at a pop-up shop or exhibition.

There are some exceptions, such as custom-made products, although they must have been tailored to your specific needs and not simply be an option from the manufacturer. Other exceptions are perishable goods and items like CDs if the seal is broken.

Importantly, these regulations place a legal obligation on the merchant to inform the consumer of their right to cancel within 14 days of delivery, also known as the cooling off period.

It seems as if the merchant here had not provided you with this important information, which is common, so you had no idea you had this right. However, the law does not impose this obligation only on the merchant, but goes one step further and offers the consumer a solution in case it is not fulfilled.

According to Article 31 of the Regulation, when a trader does not inform the consumer about the reflection period, the period is extended to 14 days.

You must contact the dealer immediately, tell them that you wish to cancel the purchase contract for the vehicle and obtain a refund under the Consumer Contracts Regulations. If the shop says it’s outside the 14 day period, I’ll give you my advice.

  • Write to Dean Dunham, Money Mail, Scottish Daily Mail, 20 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6DB or email d.dunham@dailymail.co.uk. The Daily Mail cannot accept any legal responsibility for the responses given.

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