Rs 1500 Penalty For Big Bazaar Because They Charged Rs 19 For Cloth Bag In This City!
A District Consumer Commission in Maharashtra has ordered Big Bazaar which is also a part of Future Retail Ltd to pay Rs 1,500 to a customer.
It all started when a consumer was charged Rs 19 for a cloth bag to carry the goods bought at one of its stores.
Besides the fine, the bench also directed Big Bazaar to provide details of a personal accident insurance policy for which they had charged the customer.
The bench of the Commission comprises its President Nilima Sant, and members Neeta Kankariya and Manjusha Chitlange.
How Did This Happen?
Basically, the complaint was filed by Ashwini Dhanavat, who is a lawyer by profession.
At Big Bazaar’s Aurangabad outlet, she was charged separately for a cloth bag to carry the purchases she had made after having made payment for whatever she needed to buy on December 17, 2020.
Further, It alleged that there was nothing on display in the store to inform the customers that they would be required to buy a bag separately to carry the goods they would be buying.
Personal Accident Insurance Policy Charges
Apart from this, she also alleged that she was charged Rs 2.33 and Rs 2.36, for a ‘personal accident insurance’ policy in a different invoice on December 17 and during another visit to the same outlet on December 21, 2020 respectively.
According to the complaint filed in January 2021 that neither was her permission taken for charging for the insurance policy nor were any details for the policy provided to her.
Further, the complaint, which annexed all the invoices, was filed before the Jalna Commission as the complainant lived there.
Big Bazaar Didn’t Appear For The Hearing
Despite a notice from the Commission or filing a response contesting the complaint, the Commission’s order notes that the respondent Big Bazaar (Future Retail Ltd) failed to appear before it therefore, the Commission decided to proceed with the case ex-parte.
Coming to the point of personal accident insurance policy, the Commission noted that the invoice itself said that the policy offer was exclusive for ‘future pay customers’ only, and that the customers would get policy information through SMS “shortly.”
Since, the complainant had not provided details whether she was a ‘future pay’ customer or not and did she receive any information over SMS or not, therefore, the Commission refrained from passing any orders on that count.
However, they ordered the outlet to provide all the information to Dhanavat.
No More Embarrassment And Harassment
Coming to the main issue, the Commission relied on a National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission order against the same party.
Which had arisen from a case filed before the Chhattisgarh Consumer Commission.
Here, the Jalna Commission order notes that the issue involved in that case was similar to the one which was being adjudicated in the current case.
According to this order, all kinds of expenses incurred in order to put goods in deliverable status should be borne by the seller.
The NCDRC order says “We cannot expect that for every single item intended to be purchased by the customer, he needs to carry a separate carry bag because the customer is not allowed to enter the shop with his own bag. So no option is left except to buy the bag along with goods. By not allowing customers to take their own carry bag in shop premises, and thrusting its own carry bag against consideration, the appellant is deficient in providing service and also indulged into unfair trade practice,”.
So, NCDRC had directed Big Bazaar to stop this practice completely.
Besides this, the Jalna Consumer Commission order also observes that even in that order NCDRC had observed that no adequate prominent notice was given and before making purchase and that the carry bag was sold at the payment counter without giving its specifications after the customer had selected all the goods he/she wanted to buy. “
Basically, this puts customers to embarrassment and harassment and this practice is unfair and deceptive,” as per the NCDRC order.
In the current case, everything else remained the same except for providing specifications of the bag in the invoice, The Jalna Consumer Commission observed.
So, it amounted to deficiency in service and directed that the customer be compensated with Rs 1,500.