Big Bazaar fined ₹12,000 for charging two customers ₹18 for carry bags in Chandigarh
Consumer forum observes that the price of the carry bag is generally included by the company in the profit margins of the productUpdated: May 22, 2020 22:20 IST
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has penalised Big Bazaar for asking a customer to pay ₹18 for a cloth carry bag in two separate cases. The forum has directed the retail chain of hypermarkets to pay ₹10,000 to the consumer legal aid for both cases, and ₹1, 218 to each consumer.
In the first case, Bharat Dawar of Sector 34, Chandigarh, filed a case against Future Retail’s Big Bazaar store in Industrial Area here. He alleged that in March 2019, he had bought some articles from the store and at the billing counter, the cashier had asked him to pay ₹18 for a carry bag.
He said he resisted buying the bag but in vain. Terming it an unfair trade practice, he moved the consumer court, he added.
Big Bazaar in its reply said the amount for cloth bag was “rightly charged” as it was displayed in their store. “The complainant had consented to be given a carry bag for an additional charge.”
Denying the allegation, it added, “Through advertisement /posters/notices clearly displayed at prominent locations of the concerned store stating that as a part of its responsible and environmentally conscious business policy, consumer are requested to carry their own bags and that a separate charge was to be charged in case the consumer wished to obtain a new carry bag.”
However, the forum observed that if Big Bazaar claims itself to be responsible and environmentally conscious, they should have given the carry bags to the customers free of cost “because in our considered view, the price of the carry bag has generally been included by them in the profit margins of the product(s)”.
“By employing unfair trade practice, Big Bazaar is minting lot of money from the gullible customers from all their stores situated across the country. Therefore, the deficiency in service as well as unfair trade practice on their part is proved,” it observed.
It directed Big Bazaar to return ₹18, pay ₹100 as compensation for harassment and mental agony and ₹1,100 as litigation cost. Apart from this, Big Bazaar has been asked deposit ₹5,000 in consumer legal aid.
In the other case, a Panchkula resident, Sourav Kumar, complained that in March 2019, the store had charged ₹18 from him for a carry bag. A similar order was pronounced by the consumer forum in this case as well.