Hotels plan to stop selling packaged water, cold drinks and snacks if they cannot charge above the printed MRP.
A day after the Legal Metrology Organisation (LMO) started cracking down on retailers for asking consumers to pay above the MRP at their outlets in malls, multiplexes and the airport, hotel associations have asked their members to stop selling such products over the counter.
Their reason: it is not feasible to sell at MRP.
“There is already a price we have fixed, after considering the ambience and services we provide at our hotels. Just charging the MRP for takeaway parcels will result in complications. It is best we avoid it altogether,” said Pradeep Shetty, the honorary secretary of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI). He said a case was pending at the Supreme Court.
“As hotels, we have a lot of overheads and it is not feasible to sell with less than 10% margin marked in the MRP,” said Adarsh Shetty, president, Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association (AHAR) “There is cooling charges and we are not provisional stores that pay lower taxes,” he said.
While the LMO clarified hotels can charge extra if they sell the products inside their premises, but have to charge the MRP if patrons took a parcel, hoteliers say this will be difficult as most of their billing is computerised. “How can we charge two different rates for the same product?” said one hotelier.
The LMO has been tackling two major issues that lead to consumers being forced to pay more — overcharging at establishments and dual charging by companies (see box).
The LMO has recently booked 10 major establishments at malls and multiplexes for dual charging, citing an order by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. The order said ‘there cannot be two MRPs except in accordance with the Law’.
So far, 134 establishments have been booked in the state for various violations — 24 for dual MRPs, 65 for selling above the MRP and 45 for other violations .