Recently, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission directed Big Bazaar to discontinue its trade practice of imposing an additional cost on shopping bags when a customer makes a payment.
While passing the order for dismissal of the revision petition, the Commission observed that customers have the right to know that they will have to pay an additional cost for the bag and about the salient features of the bag, before the customer exercises this particular retail outlet and before he decides to purchase from the said outlet.
The issue before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
The main issue before the NCDRC was whether the practice of imposing an additional cost(Rs. 18) for a carry bag to carry goods sold by Big Bazaar would be considered an unfair trade practice and a deficiency.
Observations of the Commission
Presiding Officer Dinesh Singh observed that as per standard practice in most retail outlets, shopping bags are provided free of cost, to enable convenience in carrying purchased goods.
The Bench further elaborated that a customer has the right to know that they will be charged extra for bags and the quality of the said bags.
It was further observed that there should be prior notice to choose whether they want to patronize one outlet over another. The outlets cannot state that the notice was displayed at the payment counter when the customer was already in the queue for making a payment or has already paid for selected goods.
The Commission ruled that such practices unduly harassed and embarrassed the customers and burdens them with additional cost.
Malls Cannot Charge Extra Cost for Carry Bags
The Commission directed Big Bazaar to stop the unfair trade practice of charging additional money for shopping bags when the customer makes a payment, without notice or information.
Big Bazaar was also directed that the said notice/ announcement/ warning/ advertisement should be placed at a place to enable the customer to make an informed choice. The notice cannot be at the place where the customer makes the payment or has already paid.
Title: Big Bazaar vs Sahil Dawar
Case No.: RP 975 OF 2020
Coram: Presiding Officer Dinesh Singh