In this video we are going to talk about a very common unfair trade practice that is being carried out by businesses around you and we at LawWiser will make sure that you as a consumer can stay aware and that you are not duped out of any money due to lack of this information.
Consumers today are a very integral part of this market driven economy and they have the right to be treated fairly and honestly and should not be charged more than their money’s worth. It is very important that we as consumers are aware of our rights and make sure that we are not cheated. Recently it has become a growing trend wherein consumers are being charged for carry bags whenever they make a purchase either at a basic convenience store or a high-end shopping mall. These charges can range anywhere between 5 and 20 INR.
Many consumers without understanding the legal rationality and logic behind this, end up paying for these bags. In this context, it is very important to discuss this highly unfair trade practice. Today we will try to explain this unfair trade practice, how you can prevent yourself from anything like this and what does the judicial system of the country says about the same with the example of a case law.
In the recent case of Baglekar Akash Kumar v. D-Mart Avenue Supermarts ltd where the Complainant made a purchase of certain number of products from the Opposite Party which included an amount of Rs 3.5 for the plastic bag having their business logo.
The complainant said that the opposite party was engaging in an unfair practice by charging for the said bag and also using the customer as a medium of advertisement because the carry bag was carrying the logo of the business and the customer who was buying the bag was in fact publicizing the brand.
The questions that arose in the case were
– Whether the additional charge of the bag did amount to unfair trade practice?
– Whether the complainant is entitled to claim/compensation made by him?
The Commission observed that, with the intention of discouraging the consumers from using plastic bags as they are non-biodegradable and a threat to the environment. The Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 were issued and Rule 15 of the said Rules stipulate inter alia that: No carry bag shall be made available free of cost by retailers to consumers which was later omitted vide notification dates 27 March 2018 and hence the opposite party cannot take shelter under it.
Coram expressed that charging the customers for carry bags has now become a commercial exercise and in a way the retailers are abusing the government rule and illegally charging the customers for plastic carry bags.
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Hyderabad held that, Retailers/shopkeepers charging for plastic/paper/cloth carry bags with their Brand logos printed on them for which the consumers have to shell out extra amount from their pocket is not only unfair trade practice but also undue profiteering at the expense of the common man.
Further, as per the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2018 dated 27-3-2018, the current legal position with regard to Rules 15 is that the “explicit pricing of carry bags” has been omitted and hence this forum allowed the complaint and gave the following directions to OP:
– To stop charging for the carry bags and provide free carry bags to all customers forthwith who purchase articles from its shops.
– To refund the complainant the amount of Rs 3.50 wrongly collected for the plastic carry bag.
– To pay Rs 1,000 to the complainant towards compensation.
In another case of Baglekar Akash Kumar Vs More Megastore Retail Limited where in the complainant relied upon the citation of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) in Big Bazar (Future Retail Ltd.,) Vs. Ashok Kumar the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Hyderabad held that
– The retailer must provide free carry bags to all customers if in case they printed their Company Logo on the carry bags.
– However, the opposite party is at liberty to charge for the plain carry bags, with prior intimation and consent of Consumers and by displaying the information at conspicuous places in the Business premises.
In conclusion, we as consumers must be aware of our rights and should be aware of any kind of unfair trade practices before hand in order to protect our rights and make sure that we are not duped in the process. Make sure to subscribe to lawwiser for more of such informational videos.