Man sues Reliance Retail who charged Rs 24.9 for carrier bag and gets refund; the court declares his commercial practice unfair | Techno Glob

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Man sues Reliance Retail who charged Rs 24.9 for carrier bag and gets refund; the court declares his commercial practice unfair

Photo: BCCL

bangalore: A resident of Bengaluru recently won a lawsuit against India’s largest retailer Reliance Retail after being forced to pay Rs 24.9 for a carrier bag after buying items worth more than Rs 2,000. Ravikiran C, 34, won the lawsuit against Reliance Retail in which the retailer had to pay out Rs 7,000 for unfair trading practices and violation of customers’ rights.
On July 10 this year, Ravikiran and his wife made an unscheduled visit to Reliance Smart Point at Nandini Layout while returning from a temple. The couple bought groceries and other household items worth around 2,007 rupees but were shocked after vendors at the billing counter asked them to pay 24.9 rupees for a transport bag.

The 34-year-old, who is a lawyer himself, presented the legal aspects based on clients’ rights and objected to payment for the carrier bag, but he was eventually forced to buy the bag Rs 24 .9 because he had to bring the goods home.

Customer takes legal action against Reliance Retail

Ravikiran, however, knocked on the door of the Bengaluru Urban District Consumer Dispute Settlement Commission and filed a complaint against Reliance Retail Limited and the outlet manager Reliance Smart Point for unfair trading practices. The lawyer presented the case for himself in the litigation which began on July 16. A formal notice was served on Reliance, but the retail major failed to appear, leading the court to declare him ex parte.

During the hearing, customer Ravikiran argued for shopping malls to offer free carrier bags as part of customer satisfaction criteria. Also, as a criterion under the Customer Protection Act, he added, retailers should not always expect customers to carry bags with them. Ravikiran argued that retail stores are required to give a carrier bag when shopping.

The distressed shopper even said retailers were trying to take advantage of the plastic bag ban and charge shoppers for carrier bags to make money off of them. This is nothing but an unfair business practice and amounts to a service deficiency.

Violation of consumer rights

Ravikiran called this a gross violation of consumer rights and in the case of Reliance, he said that a carrier bag with their logo is sold to the customer and he gets publicity without spending a rupee.

The case was analyzed for almost four months and the judges of the consumer forum castigated Reliance Retail for not having appeared before them despite a formal notice. It was indeed an unfair business practice not to grant customers free carrier bags for their purchase when shoppers are sometimes not even allowed to bring bags from outside, they noted.

The court said it is the duty of the retail store to display messages that customers need to buy bags, which the outlet in question did not do. A consumer has the right to know that there will be an additional cost for carrier bags before selecting goods to purchase, the court said.

The verdict in the case was announced on November 4 in which the city’s consumer court ruled that Reliance Retail Limited should refund the Rs 24.9 collected from the customer in Bengaluru for the carrier bag. Reliance Retail was also asked to pay Ravikiran compensation of Rs 5,000 and an additional Rs 2,000 for his legal costs. The opposing party was ordered to comply with the order within 60 days.

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