November 15 marked the day the government slashed GST on 178 goods to 18 percent from the previous 28 percent. Also, GST in all standalone restaurants – air-conditioned or not – was lowered to 5 percent from 18 percent, which did not include input tax credit. A slab of 5% slab was imposed on takeaways and deliveries.
Despite the rules being in place, there have been several restaurants who to keep their profits high have increased their menu prices post the GST slashing, thereby hardly reflecting any change in the bills that burn a hole in the pocket of those eating out. Unaware of the unlawful practices, many consumers are falling prey to being overcharged at such places.
Here’s what you can do if you notice any restaurant overcharges you under the guise of GST.
First, try to take up the issue with the management and ask for a breakdown and justifications on the overpriced menu. If they refuse to address the issue, turn to redressal cells mentioned below.
1) Visit the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) GST portal to file a complaint
Go to https://cbec-gst.gov.in/
Go to the option of CBEC Mitra Helpdesk
Select Raise Web Ticket
This will redirect you to a different window.
Select Tax Fraud/Avoidance on the left.
Once it takes you to the next page, enter your contact details (full name, email address, and report.)
Add the restaurant’s name, address, and the nature of the complaint in the report box.
A representative will get in touch with the restaurant, validate the details according to the complaint and email you the feedback.
2) File a complaint via Email:
E-Mail your complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget to mention your contact details like name, phone number, the name of the restaurant, its location, and complaint. While there is no compulsion to attach the pre and post GST bills, keep the pre-GST bill handy. The CBEC helpline will get in touch with the mentioned restaurant, validate details and get back via email to you.
E-Mail the Department of Consumer Affairs
In this case, remember to keep the post-GST bill handy. Add your name, phone number etc and the details of the restaurant including name, address, phone and email. The department of consumer affairs will get in touch with the mentioned restaurant. They will email whatever feedback they receive to you.
Another way is to write to the restaurant and cc the consumer helpline email ID too, reported the Economic Times. If you don’t receive a convincing response in 7 days, knock the doors of the consumer court and register a complaint. For any queries, you can also get in touch with the department’s toll-free number, 1800114000.
3) Call the toll-free number of CBEC:
You can also get in touch with authorities at CBEC’s toll-free number 18001200232, who will, in turn, connect you to the Fraud department.
4) Tweet to the Official handles of authorities:
Social media may also come handy. You can tweet to the official Twitter handles of GST (@askGST_Goi) and the Finance Ministry (@FinMinIndia).