Hyderabad: A supermarket was fined Rs. 15,000 for charging customers Rs.3 on carry bags which had the company’s logo printed on them. The penalty was levied on More Supermarket by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission – II, Hyderabad, based on a complaint by a customer.
The fine was levied on More Supermarket on February 19, a complaint that accused it of using its customers as “advertisement” agents, and violating consumer laws. Akash Kumar, the complainant, approached the commission on June 1, 2019, demanding action against the supermarket for charging Rs. 3 for a carry bag with its logo.
Kumar demanded the supermarket to pay Rs. 3 (to him), which was the charge of the carry bag, Rs. 30,000/- for causing mental agony to him and to also pay punitive damages for an amount of Rs. 1,00,000/-.
The supermarket, during a hearing, defended itself saying that it never forced Kumar to purchase the carry bag with its logo. It claimed it had displayed the charges applicable for the carry bags in the store, and that the bags were being charged reduce the usage of plastic in view of environmental hazard.
Moreover, the supermarket also alleged that Kumar was in fact trying to harass the establishment and that the case was a “money making scheme”. After going through all the evidence and information at hand, the commission allowed the complaint in part, and penalised the supermarket.
The commission declared that the supermarket was using its “esteemed customers” as advertisement agents and that its act was an “unfair trade practice”. Hence, it directed the More Supermarket to provide free carry bags to customers in case their logo is printed on it.
It also ordered the supermarket to pay back Rs.3 charged for the bag to Kumar, and pay Rs. 15,000 as compensation to Mr Kumar.