Barista penalised ₹30,000 for billing ₹5 as packaging charges
When going to a cafe for a cup of latte, who would expect to shell out money to get it packed!
This is what happened with a Mohali resident when he visited Barista in Phase 3 last year.
Kulwinder Singh, a resident of Phase 6, had ordered a cup of latte at the cafe on September 15, 2020. Its price mentioned on the display counter was ₹160.
When he got a bill for ₹173, he was surprised as the taxes did not amount to ₹13. When he objected, the person behind the counter told him that ₹5 have been added as packaging charges, and further ₹8 are taxed on the final amount of ₹165.
Not satisfied, Singh moved the consumer court. Now, finding the cafe indulging in trade malpractice, the district consumer disputes redressal commission, Mohali, has imposed ₹25,000 punitive charges on Barista Coffee Company Limited, to be deposited in the legal aid fund.
The firm has also been asked to refund ₹5 to the complainant and pay him a consolidated compensation of ₹5,000 for mental agony, harassment and litigation expenses.
‘Charges not displayed’
In his complaint, Singh had alleged that packaging charges were not mentioned in the advertisement or the menu card or the display board of cafe. He contended that the act and conduct of Barista in showing different rates on the display board and not disclosing the actual price exchange amounts to deficiency in service and unfair trade practice.
Denying all allegations as “false and misconceived”, Barista said it serves food and beverages to its customers for consumption at the coffee shop only. “It is prominently declared/displayed at the coffee shop that packaging charges are separately chargeable for takeaway orders and intimation in this regard is also given to such customers before billing,” stated the reply.
However, the consumer commission ruled that there was nothing on record to prove Barista’s claim.
“We feel, that the customer cannot be given surprise once he orders one cup of coffee at a price of ₹160, which is also otherwise a highly exorbitant amount. We feel, that deficiency in service and malpractice on the part of the Barista is proved on the file.”
Coming down heavily on the cafe, the commission stated: “(It) must have collected thousands of rupees from various customers in such a manner. In order to curb such malpractice, it is important to impose special cost on (it) so that correct message should go in the society and such traders will think a thousand times before adopting this practice again.”