A reputed oriental restaurant has landed in a soup after overcharging VAT on a soft drink whose MRP was Rs 35 and selling it at an exorbitant price of Rs 100. The consumer court has asked it to pay a compensation of Rs 10,000 as well as Rs 17,000 as cost of litigation to the complainant.
Coming down heavily on ‘Bombay Chopsticks’, located at Sector 10, Chandigarh, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum observed, “No cogent or authentic document has been produced on record by the opposite party to clarify how it could charge VAT on the soft drinks on which VAT already is included in the MRP and is not to be paid again. This act of the opposite party is not only painful and mentally disturbing, but, is also breach of belief or trust reposed in the product and service of an esteemed company or restaurant like the opposite party. In this way, it has indulged in unfair trade practice.”
The complainant Swinky Aggarwal, a resident of Sector 18, had alleged that on May 10, 2015, she along with her family members and friends had dined at the restaurant of the opposite party. The complainant had presented a coupon entitling her to a discount of 25 per cent, but when she received the final bill she had found out that the discount had not been applied to all the food items. Also, apart from charging VAT and service tax, the opposite party had levied a service charge of Rs 175.63 as per invoice.
The opposite party had replied that claiming the service charge had been within its rights. According to them, discount coupons are subject to terms and conditions and the 25 per cent discount had been given to the complainant on the part of the bill, under the discount coupon. The opposite party had denied the claim that it had fleeced the complainant and other persons. It had also denied charging at least Rs 337 extra.