Retailer Slapped With Rs 1000 Penalty For Forcing Buyers To Buy Carry Bag, Causing ‘Mental Agony’
A Bengaluru man sued a cell phone retailer after he was forced to buy a carry bag promoting the retailer. Let’s look into this customer rights case reported by TOI.
Why Was A Complaint Lodged?
On 6th May 2019, a 39-year-old customer named Srinivasa bought a cell phone from a retailer, Sangeetha Mobiles Private Limited, for 13,220. It was only later when he realized that the total price that he paid also included Rs 17.8 that was charged for a carry bag he didn’t want to buy.
According to him, the carry bag was forced on him against his will as the retailer wanted to promote his business through a live advertisement of him carrying the bag having a preeminent company logo printed on it.
When he asked for a refund, the seller did not cooperate. This compelled Srinivasa to take the managing director of the mobile retailer to consumer court.
Justification From Both Sides
On July 11, 2019, the Bangalore Urban 2nd Additional District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission in Shantinagar witnessed the proceedings of Srinivasa’s complaint against Sangeetha Mobile Private Limited.
The firm’s managing director, Hari argued that the sale of nonplastic bags to customers is legal. While Srinivasa’s attorney emphasized how his client was sold this promotional bag without his consent.
After a prolonged lawsuit of over 1 year, on November 25, 2020, the judges finally passed the final verdict.
Considering the occurrence of similar cases in other consumer courts in the past, the judges denounced the cellphone retailer for its responsibility towards customers.
The court sided with Srinivasa and concluded that the discordant sale of the carry bag was an unhealthy attempt of the retailer to advertise its business. Though it is legitimate to sell promotional carry bags, it should be done by taking customers’ will into consideration.
The court asked Sangeetha Mobiles Private Limited to pay a compensation of Rs 1000 to the customer for causing mental discomfort along with Rs 17.8 for the carry bag. The retailers also need to pay Rs 500 as court expenses within 30 days of the verdict.
We bet Srinivasa is not the only customer decoyed to such promotional and advertising strategies. But such cases are often ignored. The efforts put by him, in this case, are appreciable since the customer cant be asked to promote a business and pay for it at the same time.