The number of people who did not pay or refused to pay the service charge at restaurants has increased, according to a recent survey that revealed a hike in the number to 37 per cent in January from 35 per cent in November.
The survey, conducted by Local Circles — a social engagement platform — said it interviewed 8,013 people, who visited air-conditioned restaurants in January, for their experience with the service charge.
“In response, 27 per cent said restaurants did not charge it, 10 per cent said restaurants charged and they got it removed, 27 per cent said restaurant charged and they paid it while 36 per cent did not pay much attention to their bills,” it said in a statement.
“The month-on-month stats show that although the percentage of restaurants not charging service charge is showing a constant increase, the percentage of people getting it removed has become almost constant,” it added.
The percentage of people, who did not pay service charge at restaurants, stood at 35 per cent in November, 30 per cent in August and 27 per cent in May, it added.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs had called it an unethical business practice and directed restaurants to remove the service charge component from bills.
It said the trend of the gradual increase could have occurred either due to the strict warning by the government or due to the empowerment of consumers.
The development means the ministry “would need to do much more to make consumers aware and empower them further on this issue”, it said.