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Department store, Shoppers Stop has been summoned by the District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum, Delhi over a complaint filed against it for charging a customer for a carry bag.
The complaint was filed by one, Sachin Malik, who claims to have been charged Rs. 5 for a carry bag when he visited a Shoppers Stop establishment to buy a shirt. Malik filed the complaint after he was compelled to pay for a carry bag, which also had the logo of Shoppers Stop. In addition to being charged for the bag, Malik has also expressed his objection to him being used as an advertising agent at his personal cost, terming the same to be an unfair trade practice.
Following the complaint, the Delhi Consumer Forum in July issued notice to the Shoppers Stop outlet at Rohini Mall, Delhi and directed its appearance on September 13, 2019.
In April this year, a District Consumer Disputes Redressal forum in Chandigarh had ruled against shoe manufacturer Bata in a similar dispute. The Chandigarh Bench ruled that compelling consumers to pay for a carry bag, carrying the Bata logo, when the bag was essential to purchase the product, would be an unfair trade practice.
The forum proceeded to direct that Bata should provide free carry bags for its consumers henceforth, apart from directing the refund of the money paid for the bag and imposing punitive costs of Rs. 9,000. The Bench had observed,
“…we record a firm finding that there is unfair trade practice on the part of Opposite Party [Bata] in compelling the complainant to purchase the carry bag worth Rs.3/- and if the Opposite Party is a environmental activist, he should have given the same to the complainant free of cost. It was for gain of OP. By employing unfair trade practice, OP is minting lot of money from all customers.”
Earlier this year, a Shoppers Stop outlet in Hyderabad was also reportedly warned against charging customers for carry bags containing its logo by a State Consumer helpline. It is also reported that the outlet was directed to pay a Rs. 7,000 fine for charging customers for the carry bag.
Image taken from here.
[Read the Summons Order issued to Shoppers Stop, dated July 19, 2019]