Mohali microbrewery fined ₹19,000 for overcharging on liquor bottle ‘served as it is’
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed a Mohali microbrewery to pay a “punitive cost” of ₹15,000 for overcharging on a liquor bottle “served as it is”.
“In order to stop this malpractice prevailing in restaurants of charging exorbitant amounts from the consumers by totally ignoring the rules and law, to make huge profits, it is important to put a punitive cost,” ruled the Commission, while disposing of a complaint filed by one Gursharan Preet Singh of Sector 49C, Chandigarh. The fine will be deposited in the legal aid account set up by the Commission.
In May 2017, Gursharan had moved the Commission, alleging that The Brewmaster, a microbrewery in Phase 5, Mohali, had “arbitrarily and by adopting unethical practice overcharged the amount over the MRP on the liquor bottle which was served as it is to them”.
In April 2017, he had visited the restaurant and ordered a bottle of Black and White whiskey. The MRP mentioned on the bottle was ₹1,364, but in the final bill, he had been charged ₹2,395 for it. He further said that even though he had objected to paying more than the MRP, the manager had forced him to pay the entire bill.
In February 2019, a notice was issued to The Brewmaster, but as no one appeared on their behalf, the case had proceeded ex-parte.
The consumer commission held that “It is incumbent upon them (The Brewmaster) to charge MRP mentioned on the bottle, since the bottle was served as it is to the consumer. It is not the case that the liquor was served from the bottle in different quantities or served in glasses by opening the same along with other things.”
Stating that “putting a punitive cost will send a clear message that restaurant owners cannot exploit consumers”, the Commission also directed The Brewmaster to refund ₹1,031 (difference in the MRP and price charged) along with 12% interest per annum, along with a compensation of ₹3,000 to the complainant.