Thailand’s Consumer Protection Board says that a restaurant can only charge a 10% service fee if they show it to customers in a clear way.
The Consumer Protection Board answered a question about whether a customer needs to pay a service charge on Tuesday.
They replied that the service charge is an extra fee that restaurants charge customers. It is different from tips, which customers give when they are happy with the service.
Most of the time, the service charge is no more than 10% of the total bill. The OCPB stated that a restaurant could add it to the bill if they want to, but they don’t have to.
However, restaurants must ensure that customers are treated fairly, and all restaurants must follow customer protection laws and put up a sign that says they charge a service fee.
“A restaurant’s customers have the right to know all the costs before deciding whether to eat there,” they said.
If restaurant owners don’t follow the rules, customers can refuse to pay the service charge.
Customers can file a complaint with the Department of Internal Trade (DIT) or call its 1166 hotline if a restaurant charges a service fee of more than 10% or doesn’t clarify that they will do so.
A former senator who is now a special lecturer in the Faculty of Economics at Thammasat University, Jermsak Pinthong, questioned why a customer must pay a service charge in a restaurant.
This has brought the issue of service charges to the forefront of the public’s attention.
He said in a Facebook post that he talked to six lawyers and found that customers can refuse to pay the service charge.
He also said that restaurants have no right to make people pay a service charge.
A restaurant doesn’t do anything besides serve food to its customers. But some restaurants in Bangkok charge 15%–20% for their service, while others only charge 10%, he said.