Hot tip – Don’t pay hot tips!

To tip or not tip is becoming a hot issue among Thailand’s restaurant goers and waiting staff. For foreigners, tipping can be problematic in this part of Asia with expectations ranging from Chinese-style (no tips ever, anywhere, for anything) to Filipino (tips with everything). No matter what your situation is though, according to the law, 10% is enough.

On Tuesday, Pol Col Prateep Charoengul, deputy secretary-general and spokesman of the Office of the Consumer Protection Board responded to a question over whether a customer actually needs to pay a service charge.

“Restaurants are able to collect a 10% service charge only when they prominently display the fee to customers.”

Prateep went on to say that service charges were extra charges that restaurants collect from customers, and very different from the tips that customers give when they are satisfied with service.

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The service charge is normally no more than 10% of the bill and is optional, not mandatory. Restaurants can choose to include them on the bill, Pol Col Prateep said, and equally well, customers can refuse to pay. To ensure fair treatment of customers, all businesses must clearly display a notice saying that they collect a service charge.

Prateep said…

“It is the right of customers to know all the charges they will get from a restaurant before they decide to dine in the restaurant or not. If restaurant owners fail to comply, customers can refuse to pay.”

Customers can file a complaint with the Department of Internal Trade or call its 1166 hotline if a restaurant collects a service charge of over 10% or does not display a notification that they will collect such a charge.

Hot tip - Don't pay hot tips! | News by Thaiger
Restaurants have no right to force customers to pay service charges. In a restaurant, there are no “services” other than serving food.

The service charge issue recently came to public attention after former senator Jermsak Pinthong questioned the need for a customer to pay a service charge in a restaurant.

In a Facebook post, he said that after a discussion with legal experts, he found that customers can refuse to pay the charge. Restaurants, he said, have no right to force customers to pay. In a restaurant, there are no special services other than serving food to customers, he said.

 

SOURCE Bangkok Post

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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