The district consumer disputes redressal forum, Panchkula, has ordered Haldiram, a snack foods manufacturer, and the proprietor of a local grocery store to pay Rs 10,000 to a customer as compensation for selling him an underweight packet of peanuts.
The forum took the action after a Sector-4 resident, Vivek Singh, filed a complaint against Haldiram Foods International Pvt Ltd and the owner of Gupta Stores in Sector 4 saying he had purchased a 200 grams packet of Haldiram's Classic Masala peanuts for Rs 44 on September 23, 2014 at the grocery store.
He said on reaching home he sensed the packet was very light and returned to the store. He said he asked the shopowner to weigh the packet and found it weighed only 150 grams. "I requested the store owner to refund the money but he refused," the complainant added.
However, officials of the company did not appear before the forum. In its defence the store owner accepted the weight of the packet was less than that printed on it but argued he could not be made liable as it was manufactured by the company, and pleaded there was no unfair trade practice on his part.
In its order the forum, headed by president Dharampal and members Anil Sharma and Anita Kapoor, stated: "There is a real possibility that Haldiram and Gupta Stores have been frequently indulging in such unfair trade practices and cheating gullible customers. The present case is not that of a manufacturing defect - it's a case of selling an underweight product for which even a local dealer is legally accountable. When a dealer stocks and sells a product that has its weight printed on the package, he cannot escape liability if the product is found to be underweight."
The forum ordered both the company and the store owner to pay Rs 10,000 to the complainant as compensation for causing him harassment as well as financial loss due to an unfair trade practice and deficiency in services on their part.