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    Staying in a nice property in Nairobi and just finished dinner.

    I see on the bill (ie added to menu prices) 16% VAT, 2% tax and 8% service (ie about 26%).

    When I signed it there was also a line on the bill marked “extra tip”. I ignored it on the basis that service was included and the waiter looked a bit pained. Bit of a cheek I thought.

    Am I off track here?



    While you are correct in not adding the “extra tip” as service charge was automatically added to the bill, this amount unfortunately never gets to the service staff, and just boosts the bottom line of the establishment. It is a very annoying practice that is seen in many places now. I have had arguments in London about this, and once refused to pay the added service charge as it had stated on the bill that this was “discretionary” … and as I had not received service to warrant paying this charge, I declined, only to be challenged by the floor manager who obviously had no idea what discretionary meant.

    Regardless of the service charge being added, I di sometimes leave a small cash tip as that does get to the staff.



    If the bill makes it clear the tip goes to staff I don’t add anything extra. But as mroo_ywg states unfortunately these so called tips don’t go to the staff so I always tend to add something extra.



    Very annoying to me, Marriott have started to leave a ‘thank you’ envelope in their bedrooms. This is signed with the room maids name and is, in my opinion, nothing short of a begging letter. These so called top service hotels ought to pay their staff sufficient that they don’t resort to begging from their customers. Actually, the whole US thing with tipping pisses me of greatly but I guess that’s another story.



    The added service is easy to solve. I ask for it to be removed from the bill and make sure I hand the tip to the waiter or maître D concerned… If service was good, it will be more than 8%..!

    One smart Alec in a London restaurant, tried convincing me the service charge was for the service provided by the Establishment… not the waiters. I handed the manager my business card and suggested he forward me a revised bill and then I would pay…. I did leave a tip for the waiter, which I handed to him personally…



    If there is a service charge I won’t leave a tip



    Same thing happened at breakfast – space left for extra tip. Even more of a cheek: it was a buffet breakfast and apart from the coffee it was self service!



    If you have received good service, always make sure you give the tip directly to the server, especially in UK hotels. Not sure if it is the same these days but in the past, tips were pooled and shared between staff, as part of their wages, and not as a bonus.

    SimonS1 – What a cheek! The same happened to me, $35 for a buffet breakfast at the Barclay in NYC, as I was expected to leave a 15% tip on top!!



    I had an almost similar thing at a hotel some years ago in Jersey. A colleague and I took dinner the first night and it was waiter service, no problem. Next night it was a buffet but they still added a 10% service charge.

    On check out I asked why we had to pay a service charge to serve ourselves. The receptionist couldn’t answer so she said she would get someone I could talk to. A burly guy appeared and asked what the problem was, I told him and he just said oh I see. Turned out he was security and there was no manager available!

    Put a rubbish review on trip advisor to which the response was that clearing the plates was a service



    +1 seasonedtraveller, the whole tipping thing pisses me off greatly indeed too! Here in Asia and Singapore, there is generally a 10% service charge added to every bill and no further tip is required this includes in taxis too!

    I had one instance in a hotel in Las Vegas waiting for a taxi in a queue with my young son and being offered free water! The person offering the free water however wanted a tip!!! Cant win ……..



    Agree K1ingston. Your water episode reminded me of the telephone call I received telling me I had won a free holiday, although I would have to take their insurance and pay an admin fee of £75.

    I argued with the guy that the holiday was not free if I had to pay an admin fee and insurance. He continued to argue that it was free and then still said when I wasn’t going to give in that, I wouldn’t get a holiday to wherever it was for that price to which I replied so you admin it isn’t free? No he said it’s free !!!!!



    I was in a very fancy pants restaurant at the weekend celebrating one of my daughters’ birthdays. At the time of booking, which was done by email, we asked for a particular table as it was to celebrate a birthday.

    We got the table we had asked for, enjoyed an excellent meal with tip top service and then, once we had ordered our coffee, a small group of staff appeared along with the pastry chef with a birthday cake.

    Imagine my reaction when I saw they had added the cake to my bill………



    The VAT I understand, though is usually included in the price shown on the menu. Service charge is one of those things that annoy me, especially if it’s not good. Even worse, some places, especially in South Africa, add a service charge if you’re six or more but don’t make it clear. If you don’t notice after an enjoyable evening and then add another 10% it makes my blood boil.

    On a few occasions I have removed the service charge from a bill after asking for the manager, when it’s compulsory (such as in Switzerland) and if the manager does not agree I leave my card telling them if they don’t like it they can sue me. I’ve not done this often, but I’ve never been sued!

    Otherwise I always leave tips in cash though it’s a bit of a quandary here since tips are often divided amongst kitchen staff and cleaners when added to a bill, and they are usually miserably paid.



    There is a cocktail bar in London where they not only add a 12.5% service charge to the bill, when paying by card you are also asked whether you would like to add a tip on the card machine (on top of the 12.5% already added to the bill). One would think it would be one or the other – not both! Many would be tricked into tipping on the card machine thinking no service had been added to the bill….. a dirty practice in my mind.

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