Customers feel short-changed by ‘unfair’ tipping practices

1st Jul 2016

Most Britons believe that service charges should no longer be added to bills in restaurants, pubs, cafes or hotels in the UK, according to research by the Institute of Customer Service.  

The Institute surveyed 2,014 consumers and business executives. Its findings reveal that 63% of those surveyed want to see the removal of discretionary service charges from the bills they receive, 58% think that the entire tip should go to employees (except deductions required for tax) and 83% argue that the Government should amend consumer protection laws so that businesses are clearer about the cost of cover charges.

“Customer priorities are changing,” explains Jo Causon, the Institute’s chief executive. “They are more concerned with employee attitude, behaviour and competence than they are with price – and they want to reward great service properly.”

The survey follows a Government consultation led by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Business Secretary Sajid Javid subsequently announced that the Government plans to end current tipping practices. 

“I’m setting out our proposals to make tipping fairer, clamping down on unfair practices and securing a better deal for the millions of workers in the service industry,” said Javid. “We will look closely at all the options, including legislation if necessary.”

Current recurring problems include customers accidentally tipping twice when prompted to add a tip to a bill that already includes one when paying by card, and tips not being passed on to staff by their employers.

“We know that engagement increases when employees feel they are treated fairly,” adds Causon, “meaning that a transparent approach to tipping is more likely to build engagement and, with it, excellent levels of service.”

Click here to view the Institute's full response to the Government's consultation.

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