Mohali, April 3
The District Consumer Dispute Settlement Commission, Mohali, has imposed a fine of Rs 1.5 lakh on Reliance Retail Limited (opposing party), Bestech Mall, Mohali, for charging the carrier bags of 15 customers.
The Chairman of the Commission, Sanjiv Dutt Sharma, in his order, ordered the opposing party (OP) to deposit Rs 1.5 lakh (Rs 10,000 in each complaint) into the PGI Patient Welfare Fund, Chandigarh, which would be used to provide cost-free drugs to poor patients from the cardiology department. The order further ordered the PO to pay compensation of Rs 1,000 each to the plaintiffs.
The Complainants alleged that they visited the PO stores/shops to purchase items on different dates as stated in their respective Complaints. It is alleged that the PO, when handing over the purchased items, charged extra for the carrier bag/paper bag/jute bag.
Complainants alleged that the PO had no legal right to charge for the carrier bag/paper bag/jute bag. Alleging a breach of service, the plaintiffs sought reimbursement of the amount billed by the PO, in addition to compensation and legal costs.
In response, the PO asserted that the charges for the carrier bag/paper bag were only taken after seeking consent from the complainants and as such the complaints were made with an intent to bad faith and were not admissible. It was also claimed that they posted information that additional fees would be charged for carrying bags. Alleging no shortcomings in service on their part, the PO asked for the complaints to be dismissed.
The commission observed that it was possible that the PO collected thousands of rupees from customers in this way. It was also possible that the OP had continued this practice for years and raised a huge sum. To combat such malpractices, it was important to impose a special cost on the PO.