Remember the famous Rs 442 for two banana's incident? Now, an 18 Rs bag has cost Big Bazar a whopping amount of Rs. 11500. Shocked?
Big Bazaar has been fined this amount for charging a customer Rs 18 for a carry bag. The incident took place when a customer, Sourav Kumar of Panchkula’s Sector 15 visited Big Bazaar hypermarket in Elante Mall on February 21. The billing clerk demanded Rs 18 from Sourav, for a cloth bag to carry the purchased articles. To which he opposed that it was displayed nowhere in the shop that carry bags were chargeable.
Later, he filed a consumer complaint, alleging deficiency in service and unfair trade practice on the part of Big Bazaar. As a response to this, the company justified the price as displayed in its store. The company argued that it kept a range of chargeable shopping bags as well and the one Sourav had picked was displayed with a price tag in a big poster. It also stated that the customer had agreed to the purchase.
The forum stated: “The store has failed to produce on record any cogent, convincing, and reliable piece of evidence in the shape of any rules or instructions that authorize it to levy an additional charge for the carry bag on gullible consumers. If the cashier informed the complainant just before billing, it amounts to unfair trade practice and deficiency in service, as it would have been very odd and inconvenient for the customer to carry new articles in hand throughout his trip to the mall. Charges for things such as cloth bags cannot be foisted separately upon consumers. If imposed, it would amount to overcharging.”
The consumer forum concluded that the company had taken the complainant and his fellow shoppers for a ride. It said: “Given that it has stores across the country, it must have made a lot of money in this manner. The pain and harassment left the complainant with no alternative but to move this forum. The company is penalized for causing his loss, mental agony, and physical harassment, and forcing him into litigation at the cost of his time and that of this forum.
The district consumer disputes redressal forum has directed the company to pay Rs 1,500 as compensation to the complainant and deposit Rs 10,000 in the account of consumer legal aid service."
Consumer forum said compelling a customer to pay for a paper bag was a clear deficiency in service.
This is not the first time when Chandigarh Consumer forum has fined stores and brands for charging for carry bags. Earlier this year, Bata India Limited has been fined Rs 9,000 for asking the customer to pay Rs 3 for a paper bag. Dominos Pizza was fined Rs 10,500, Lifestyle Rs 13000, and Westside Rs 13,000.
Hope this step from consumer forum against companies will teach them and others a lesson.