The next time you are charged more than the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) mentioned on a packaged product, or sold wrongly-weighed goods, the state department tasked with looking into your complaints will address them within three weeks.
On the occasion of World Consumer Rights Day on Friday, Ashok Dongare, controller of the state legal metrology organisation, made an announcement to this effect. The organisation, part of the state food, civic supplies and consumer protection department, is tasked with addressing consumer concerns pertaining to overcharging of packaged products or wrongly weighed or measured loose or packaged goods. The legal metrology chief has directed officials to check, attend and reply to all consumer complaints in a time-bound manner. (See box)
“Consumers will have to provide us all details of the offender, including retailer’s name, address, description of the offence etc. Within 15-20 days, field officials will verify the complaint and take action. The complainant will be informed about the action or the status of their complaint,” he said.
In 2011, following a campaign by HT about retailers charging more than the MRP for goods such as soft drinks and bottled waters, state officials cracked down on offenders.
Authorities also plan to conduct stringent checks on traders, shopkeepers, malls, wholesalers, hawkers etc, who use weighing machines or scales to measure goods, to prevent them from fleecing customers through faulty measurements .
Consumer activists said the department should also focus on creating awareness about legal recourses available to consumers. “Not many are aware of the legal metrology organisation, its contact number, its offices, or how one can complain,” said activist Sunil Mone.