Rejecting the plea of Bata India that it charges Rs 3 for paper carry bag for the purpose of environmental safety, the Chandigarh Consumer Forum stated that “if Bata India is a environmental activist, it should have given the same to the complainant free of cost”. The forum also directed the company to provide free carry bags to all customers who purchase its articles.
The forum directed Bata India to refund Rs 3 wrongly charged for the paper carry bag from Chandigarh resident Dinesh Parshad Raturi, pay him Rs 3,000 as compensation and Rs 1,000 as litigation expenses. The forum also directed Bata India to deposit Rs 5,000 in the “Consumer Legal Aid Account” in the name of Secretary, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, UT, Chandigarh.
As per the complaint filed with the forum on February 8, Raturi alleged that he purchased a pair of shoes from the Bata shop in Sector 22, Chandigarh, on February 5.
He added that the actual price of a pair of shoes that he purchased was Rs 399, but he paid Rs 402. When he saw the bill, he found that he was charged Rs 3 for the paper bag.
Cashier at the Bata store handed over the pair of shoes and put in a paper bag bearing the advertisement name of the shop ‘BATA’. However, Raturi had no intention to purchase the carry bag.
Raturi stated that it was the duty of the store to provide the carry bag, but he was forced to pay price for the paper bag, which was being used as advertisement by Bata. He added that “Bata Surprisingly Stylish”, “Barcelona Milan Singapore New Delhi Rome” was printed on the paper bag.
Raturi alleged that at the cost of the consumer, he was being used as the advertisement agent of the Bata India Limited.
However, Bata India in reply just submitted that for the purpose of environmental safety, the complainant was given carry bag at the cost of Rs 3.
After hearing the arguments, the forum stated that the affidavit furnished by the complainant is that “he never intended to purchase carry bag and it was to be provided by seller, Bata”, and “it was an essential item for sale of product”.
The forum held that “there is unfair trade practice on the part of Bata India in compelling the complainant to purchase the carry bag worth Rs 3 and if Bata India is an environmental activist, it should have given the same to the complainant free of cost” and “it was for gain of the company”.
“…By employing unfair trade practice, opposite party [Bata] is minting lot of money from all customers…”, read the forum judgment released on April 12.
The forum thus directed Bata India to provide free carry bags to all its customers forthwith who purchase articles from its shop.