Charging carry bags with logos is an unfair trade practice according to the Consumer Protection Act. Yet, many brands continue to follow this practice.
Bengaluru: Your favorite brand is using you as an advertisement tool everytime you carry their carry bags. So, they ought not to be charging you for them, say experts. Further, an existing government order states that retailers can’t charge an extra amount on carry bags if they have their brand’s logo on it.
However, the retailer is free to charge for plain carry bags.
Sunny, a Bangalore-based fashion influencer said that some Indian retail stores do charge for carry bags. However, he was not aware of this law until very recently.
He added that he has not been charged for carry bags at popular fast-fashion stores.
According to the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, “‘unfair trade practice’ means a trade practice which, for the purpose of promoting the sale, use or supply of any goods or for the provision of any service, adopts any unfair method or unfair or deceptive practice.”
A Hyderabad Consumer Forum charged a supermarket a fine of Rs 15,000/- because they sold carry bags with their logo.
Even in The Big Bazaar (Future Retail Ltd.) versus Sahil Dawar case, the consumer forum held that the cost of the carry bag(s) have to be refunded, the company has to pay a compensation of Rs 100 to the customer, and that Rs 5000 has to be deposited in the Consumer Legal Aid Account of the District Forum.
Mr. Navin Agarwal, the President and Chairman of the Consumer Rights Organization (CRO) said, “Brands charging the customers is against the court order. If possible, the customer should object in the store itself, and if they still don’t agree, they should appeal to the local body and send a letter to the store concerned.”
Ms. Vaishali Panchal the general secretary of CRO believes that not a lot of customers are aware of this act. She asked, “If brands have their logos on carry bags they are investing in building their own brand and why should the customers pay for it?”
She believes that the most effective way to spread information is through social media and customers should know that they aren’t pawns being used for advertising.
Mr Gopal Ratan, the secretary of the Consumer Care Society in Bangalore said, “Since the government order of banning carry bags, many brands have started using alternative materials instead of plastic. They have hence started charging for carry bags.”
Many have appealed to the consumer’s forum, and have taken to social media platforms, like Twitter, to express their grievance over the same issue.
However, Mr Ratan said that no brand is forcing any customer to purchase their carry bag. According to him, consumers need to be more aware, if they want to avoid any extra charges they should simply carry their own carry bags. If they are charged on the bags they are in a legal position to appeal to the consumer’s forum.
Purnasha Gupta, a customer said, “I am aware these carry bags shouldn’t be charged, but as customers when we object they don’t listen to us.” She said, these carry bags usually cost from Rs. five to ten.
Dipanjan Ray, another customer tweeted when he was charged at a popular bookstore in Kolkata.
It stated, “@******* You are making customers to buy carry bags with your branding. As per consumer court you can’t charge for your branding on carry bag. Remove branding else give free.”