Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 29
The Consumer Commission has fined shopkeepers in approximately 40 cases for charging for carry bags during the last 10 months.
While the Consumer Commission is imposing penalty and directing to pay compensation to customers for illegally charging for carry bags the menace goes on unabated.
Lawyers said shopkeepers were taking undue advantage of the loopholes in the system. Average four cases a month show that not many customers are coming before the Consumer Commission.
Advocate Anshuman Narula, who recently got the decision from the Consumer Commission in favour of his client, said there was a need to make consumers aware about their rights.
“If shopkeepers are not stopping from charging their customers for carry bags and the enforcement authorities are turning a blind eye towards the menace then customers have no option, but to approach the consumer court,” he added.
“The consumer court should also impose heavy fines on shopkeepers so that it acts as a deterrent for them,” he said. “Besides, the government should also check the menace strictly as shopkeepers are minting crores by charging for carry bags,” he added.
“There is no problem for shopkeepers to pay penalty in a few cases while they earn huge amount from a large number of customers daily,” he said.
In the recent case, the Consumer Commission directed Big Bazaar, (Future Retail Ltd), Elante Mall, Industrial Area, to pay Rs100 towards compensation for harassment and mental agony and Rs1,100 as litigation expenses to Ashutosh Hoshiarpuri, a resident of Sector 4, Chandigarh, who filed a case against the store for charging Rs18 for carry bag.
The store was also directed to deposit Rs5,000 with the Consumer Legal Aid Account (for helping needy litigants) as punitive damage and refund the cost of carry bag to the customer.
Narula, who represented Ashutosh Hoshiarpuri, said, not many people think like Hoshiarpuri, who was determined to fight against the illegal practice of paying for carry bags.
Another advocate Pankaj Chandgothia said, “Shopkeepers selling carry bags are taking advantage of the fact that the Consumer Court orders apply only to a particular case and complainant. The Consumer Court cannot pass general prohibitory orders applicable to everyone and for all times.”
“Moreover, only 2 per cent, which means very few persons go to court for such claims. So, shopkeepers do not mind paying penalty to such small percentage of people as they earn much more from all their customers,” he added.