Footwear retail brand Bata India Ltd. has been slapped a fine of Rs. 9000 for forcing a customer to pay Rs. 3 for a paper bag. Dinesh Prasad Raturi, a resident of Chandigarh city complained to Chandigarh consumer forum regarding the incident.
In his complaint, Dinesh said he had bought a pair of shoes from a Bata store in Sector 22D on February 5. The store charged him Rs 402 inclusive of the paper bag charges, that is Rs. 3. He sought a refund of Rs 3 and compensation for deficiency in services. He also said that by levying the paper bag charges on him, Bata was also endorsing its brand on the bag which was not justified.
The company has rebutted the allegations of deficiency in its services.
However, the consumer forum refused to agree with Bata’s opinion and said that forcing a consumer to pay for a paper bag was undoubtedly a glitch in company’s services. It further censured the company over the harassment of customers.
It has 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.
Furthermore, the regulator has also ordered the footwear brand to refund the cost of the bag (Rs 3) and pay for the litigation charges of Rs 1,000. It also said that it was the store's duty to provide a free paper bag to the customer who had bought their product, according to the report.
The consumer court has further 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.
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