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Delhi consumer commission imposes Rs 3,000 fine on retailer for charging Rs 7 for paper carry bag

New Delhi: A consumer commission here has directed a fashion apparel retailer to pay a fine of Rs 3,000 for charging Rs 7 to a customer for a paper carry bag without prior intimation.

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (East Delhi) was hearing a complaint claiming deficiency in services by Lifestyle International Pvt Ltd for charging Rs 7 for a paper carry bag.

The commission’s President, S S Malhotra, and members Rashmi Bansal and Ravi Kumar noted that the retailer was charging for paper carry bags after the ban on plastic bags on the grounds that paper bags were costlier than plastic bags.

“The question to consider before this commission is not the use of plastic bags or paper bags, but whether or not, any additional cost can be imposed upon customers to provide carry bags at the time of making payment for the goods selected for purchase, without prior notice/information being given to them,” the commission said in a recent order.

It said the complainant established his case by filing the photographs showing that no prior notice had been served upon consumers that they had to bring their own carry bags and that the paper bags were chargeable.

“The customer has a right to know, before making his purchase that additional cost of the carry bag will be charged and also has the right to know the salient specifications and price of the carry bag,” the commission said.

It said carry bags of “undisclosed specifications” were forced on consumers at the price fixed by the retailer. Besides causing “harassment”, the practice also affected the customer’s rights to make an informed decision, the commission said.

“The commission is of the opinion that the opposite party (Lifestyle International Pvt Ltd) cannot charge any amount for carry bags, particularly for those items which have been purchased from the party’s outlet itself and charging any amount from the consumers for that amounts to deficiency of service,” the commission said.

“Therefore, opposite party is directed to refund Rs 7 as the cost of the carry bag to the complainant and Rs 3,000 as compensation for causing mental agony and harassment, which shall include litigation cost,” it added.

(Published 16 December 2023, 17:27 IST)

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