A Chandigarh consumer forum has slapped a penalty of Rs 9,000 on retail brand Bata India Ltd for asking a consumer to pay Rs 3 for a paper bag.
Stating that it is the store's duty to provide a free paper bag to the customer who had bought their product, according to the report. The forum ordered Bata India to refund the cost of the bag (Rs 3) and pay for the litigation charges of Rs 1,000. The Commission further directed Bata to pay the compensation of Rs 3,000 to the customer for the mental agony caused by the deficiency in services and ordered the company to pay Rs 5,000 in the legal aid account of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
The forum also ordered Bata India to provide free paper bags to its customers and also distinguished that if the companies were that worried about the environment, they must provide free environment-friendly bags to their customers.
Section 2(1)(g) of the Act provides that, “deficiency” means any fault, imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature and manner of performance which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or has been undertaken. While we are sure Bata will challenge this decision in a higher forum, one of their main grounds of challenge will definitely be on the basis of whether asking a customer to pay for a paper bag which is an additional item to the item as purchased falls within the ambit of “deficiency of service”.