A Chandigarh-based consumer forum has imposed a fine of Rs 9,000 on footwear brand Bata India for asking a customer to pay Rs 3 for a paper bag. The forum also held the company responsible for harassing customers and deficiency in services.
The decision came after Dinesh Prasad Raturi, a resident of Chandigarh, filed a complaint in the consumer forum. In his complaint, Raturi stated that he had bought a pair of shoes on February 5 from a Bata Showroom located in Sector 22D of Chandigarh and the store charged him Rs 402 inclusive of the price of the paper bag.
Raturi refused to pay for the paper bag and demanded compensation for deficiency in services. The company has rejected the claims of deficiency in its services but the forum refused to give any relief to the company and said that forcing a customer to purchase a paper bag was a glitch in the company’s services.
What did the forum order?
The forum noted that the carry bag, for which the consumers had to pay extra from their pocket, is a printed carry bag on both sides, which has a prominent display of the advertisement of the store and customers cannot be charged for endorsement.
Stating that it was the company’s duty to provide a paper bag, the forum directed Bata to refund the cost of the bag and pay for the litigation charges of Rs 1000. Apart from this, the regulator further ordered the company to pay Rs 3,000 to Raturi for the mental agony caused and Rs 5,000 in the legal aid account of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
It has also ordered Bata India to provide free paper bags to its customers as they cannot expect customers to carry the items in their hands. The company said that due to Plastic Ban, they are forced to use Paper bag and charge customers.