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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Charging ₹18 for carry bag costs Big Bazaar dear

Three different cases filed against the retail store

cities Updated: Oct 23, 2019 00:52 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh

In three different cases, the district consumer disputes redressal forum has penalised Big Bazaar (Future Retail Ltd), Industrial Area, Chandigarh, for wrongly charging for carry bags. It has been asked to deposit ₹10,000 in each case with consumer legal aid account and pay compensation to the three complainants.

In the first case, Sarita Kumari, a resident of Sector 34, alleged she bought some products from the multi-brand retail store on March 4 this year. At the billing counter, the cashier told her that she will be charged ₹18 for a cloth bag to carry the articles purchased. She objected to it, citing that it was mentioned no where that customers would be charged for a carry bag, but to no avail.

Alleging deficiency in service and unfair trade practice, she filed a consumer complaint. Two other similar cases were filed by Bharat Dawar, also of Sector 34, and Gurpreet Singh of Sector 46.

The store contested Sarita’s claim, stating that the amount was “rightly charged” for the cloth bag as it was displayed in the store. It was mentioned the woman had consented to be given a carry bag for an additional charge and only then the cashier added the price to the bill.

It was pleaded that the store is not selling carry bags commercially and is only reimbursing itself for a part of the price incurred in procuring them. “The cost price of the bag provided by the store is higher than ₹18 charged from consumers,” it was stated, while prayed for dismissal of the complaint.

The forum ruled: “(Even) if the cashier informed the complainant about the purchase of carry bag before billing, the same amounts to unfair trade practice and deficiency in service as it would have been very odd and inconvenient for complainant to carry the new articles in hand throughout without a carry bag... In this backdrop, charges of such things (cloth bags) cannot be separately foisted upon the consumers and would amount to overcharging.”

Stating that the present case clearly established the “high-headedness” of the store, the forum stated it led to “not only loss, mental agony and physical harassment to the complainant, but also giving rise to undesirable litigation and thereby wasting the precious time of this forum”.

Besides ₹10,000 to be deposited for consumer legal aid, the firm was directed to refund ₹18, pay ₹1,000 compensation for harassment and mental agony and ₹500 as litigation expenses to each of the complainants.