On April 20, Vandita Agrawal with her few friends went to a hotel. When she noticed that she was being overcharged for the water bottle she bought and being aware of the various news reports on overcharging of mineral water by restaurants and hotels, she took the matter seriously and complained about it to the hotel staffs. She has shared her experience here:
”On April 20, I went to Radisson Blu, Noida, with my friends. When the server asked me whether I wanted normal water or mineral water, I said normal water. But then, I asked her how much did the mineral water cost. She said around Rs 300. I was flabbergasted. I knew I was at a five-star hotel, and I shouldn’t be shocked at such high prices, but this was illegal. I asked her to call her supervisor. The supervisor told me that the vendor gives them the mineral water bottle at a steep rate and that they are following all government laws while deciding the selling price to their guests.
At this point, my friend asked me to let it go. But being a journalist and a responsible citizen, I could not let go of the blatant disregard of my rights as a customer and the country’s law. I demanded to speak to the restaurant manager one last time to warn them they were overcharging me and they can face jail term/fine. Dhruv, a defiant restaurant manager, first told me that if I am not ready to pay Rs 295 for a mineral water bottle with an MRP of Rs 60, I should return it.
When I refused, he said he will not charge me for the same. When I refused again, he said just like they are free to impose service charge, they were free to fleece me. When I told him that service charge is optional, and I have the right to refuse it if I find the service below par, he argued you can leave if you don’t want to pay the service charge (basically asking me to leave if I didn’t want to pay the inflated price of the water bottle).
He was unmoved when I showed him the clippings of restaurants across India being fined heavily for the ‘general practice’. When I said I will complain to Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, and file a complaint to the consumer court, he said you are free to do it, but he will not budge – because they didn’t have any government notification, airports also do the same, and the government has allowed them to charge much more than the MRP.
When I asked him to give me in writing all his excuses, he refused but allowed me to use his name in my complaint (as if he is assured by the owners that he has their backing). In the end, I paid Rs 295 instead of Rs 60.
I request the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, The Logical Indians, and Radisson Hotels to not let such incidents slip by. It is not the matter of Rs.295 or Rs.60, but by neglecting or showing apathy towards such practices, we are indirectly promoting illegal activity of these restaurants. It is not the question of Rs.295 or Rs. 60, it is the question of ethical business. If I don’t raise my voice against illegal practices, how do I blame the government for corruption?”
– Vandita Agrawal
The Logical Indian thanks Vandita for bringing this to light and taking it to authorities. We urge citizens to never to pay more than MRP and to file a complaint with the authorities. We request the aforementioned restaurants to look into the matter and issue an explanation on the same. Consumers can register the complaints on the consumer helpline website.
If you too have a similar story to tell, send us your story at [email protected], we would do our best to spread awareness and help resolve the issue.