Holding that “Big Bazaar does not mend their act/behaviour “, the Chandigarh Consumer Forum imposed a cost of Rs 5 lakh, to be deposited in the Poor Patient Welfare Fund of PGIMER, for charging Rs 12 for a carry bag from a customer.
In the judgment released on Thursday, the forum also directed the store to refund Rs 12 charged for the carry bag from complainant Neha Goel, with Rs 100 as compensation and Rs 1,100 as cost of litigation.
Neha Goel of Chandigarh stated that she purchased some articles worth Rs 1,198 from Big Bazaar store at Industrial Area, Phase I, Chandigarh and when she went to the billing counter, the cashier had charged a sum of Rs 12 for the carry bag.
Goel said that she resisted and told the cashier of the store that it was illegal to charge for a carry bag but to no avail. She thus filed a formal complaint at the consumer forum against the store on July 1, 2019.
The Big Bazaar in its reply submitted that the amount was rightly charged as the same was displayed in the store, whereas the complainant had consented to be given a carry bag for an additional charge.
Meanwhile, Big Bazaar through advertisement/posters/notices clearly displayed at prominent locations of the concerned store stating that as a part of its responsible and environmentally conscious business policy, the consumers are requested to carry their own bags and that a separate charge was to be charged in case the consumers wished to obtain a new carry bag.
The forum after hearing to the arguments held that “…the big stores like the OPs (Big Bazaar) never allow the customers to carry bags in their hands within their store premises knowing very well that if they are allowed then the customers will not easily give their consent for the purchase of the carry bags. The OPs (Big Bazaar) are, therefore, taking advantage of their dominating position…”
“If the OPs claim themselves to be responsible and environmentally conscious, then they should have given the carry bags to the customers free of cost because in our considered view, the price of the carry bag has generally been included by them in the profit margins of the product(s). It was for gain of the OPs. By employing unfair trade practice, the OPs are minting lot of money from the gullible customers from all their stores situated across the country”, read the forum judgement.
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