The next time a restaurant overcharges you on MRP for a water bottle or a soft drink, keep the bill safe with you so that you could drag them to court. Few might consider this a pun, but this recent incident of Hyderabad sets as a reminder that overcharging on water bottles is, in fact, an ‘unfair trade practice’
On account of unfair trade practice, Sarvi Hotel located in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad was asked to pay Rs 20,000 to a customer by the District Consumer District Redressal Forum-II for charging double rates for a bottle of mineral water on MRP.
Mr Ch. Kondaiah, a resident of Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh had lunch at Sarvi Hotel located in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad on 27 July 2015. As reported by The Hindu, He was charged double the amount for a water bottle which had an MRP of Rs 20. Mr Kondaiah questioned the manager of the hotel, and on being asked, Manager claimed that charging over the MRP rate was a general practice.
Mr Kondaiah moved to the district forum’s door with a complaint against Sarvi Food Court. In its defence, the food court quoted that as per the Principles of Hospitality Law authored by Alan Pannett and Michael John Boella, a customer is bound to pay the charges mentioned in the menu card and also the customer cannot claim that he was overcharged.
The management of the hotel also told the forum that Mr Kondaiah had enjoyed the ambience of their hotel and he is not entitled to claim any redressal. The management also stated that there was no evidence established that Mr Kondaiah visited the restaurant on the said date and the bill could have been picked up from any place.
After scrutinising the entire set of evidence, the forum noted that Mr Kondaiah had visited the restaurant on July 27, 2015. The panel established that the hotel is entitled to fix any price and maintain the menu card for the food products prepared by the hotel, but in no way, they have the authority to charge above MRP rate for packaged goods.
The forum ruled out that the hotel had violated the Legal Metrology Rules 2011 and directed the hotel to pay Rs 20,000 to Mr Kondaiah. The panel also stated that the hotel would pay back Rs 20 which was collected in excess and another Rs 5,000 as an all-in cost involved in a financial transaction.
Legal Metrology Rules, 2011
As per the Legal Metrology Rules, 2011, pre-packed commodity means a commodity without the purchaser being present. It is placed in a package of whatever nature whether opened or sealed. The commodity contained has a predetermined value and includes those goods which can be taken out of the package for examining or testing or inspecting the commodity.
It is an offence if the dealer over charge it and the trader can also be prosecuted.
The Logical Indian appreciates the ruling taken by the District Forum and request every individual to be vigilant when buying any packaged product. If the shopkeeper charges you more than the MRP, then he can be prosecuted. We as citizens need to file more such cases and raise this issue, so restaurants stop overcharging their customers.
Read more at The Hindu