New Delhi: In a first, a major retail brand has been penalized for asking customers to pay for paper bags. Shoemaker Bata India Limited has been asked to pay Rs 9,000 to a consumer for asking to pay Rs 3 for a paper bag.
According to a report in India Today, a Chandigarh based customer filed a complaint with the Consumer Forum. After probing the incident, the regulator has slammed Bata for asking the customer to pay Rs 3 for the paper bag.
In his complaint, Chandigarh resident Dinesh Prasad Raturi, told the consumer forum that he had purchased a pair of shoes on February 5 from a Bata store located in sector 22D. The store charged him Rs 3 extra for the paper bag and put the final bill at Rs 402.
The complainant, Raturi, told the forum that by charging Rs 3 for the bag, Bata, was also endorsing its brand on the bag which was not justified.
In its judgment, the Consumer Forum said that if the companies were really worried about the environment, they should provide free environment-friendly bags to their customers.
The Forum also directed Bata India to provide free paper bags to its customers.
Defending the company, Bata India refuted the allegations of deficiency. The forum said compelling a customer to pay for a paper bag was a clear deficiency in service as it was the store's duty to provide a free bag to the customer who had purchased their product.
The forum in its decision has directed Bata India Limited to refund the cost of the bag (Rs 3) and litigation charges, i.e. Rs 1000.
Apart from paying Rs 3000 as compensation to the customer for the mental agony caused by deficiency in services, the forum has directed Bata India to deposit Rs 5,000 in the legal aid account of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
The judgment is bound to make brands which charge extra for paper bags, jittery.