The Gujarat State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission upheld an order for Rs 2,000 compensation along with a refund to the consumer. The case dates back to 2019 when a woman, having bought sanitary napkins and inner wear, asked for a bag to carry the purchase. The DMart outlet at Veljapur asked her to buy one for Rs 16.
The woman, a resident of Jivraj Park area, paid the bill of Rs 213 plus Rs 16 but felt cheated. “Not only did she feel cheated, she also realised that the bag was of cheap quality as evidenced in successive use. Hence, she sued the hypermarket in a case lodged with Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum, Ahmedabad (rural) for compulsion to pay for a carry bag. For its part, DMart did not attend the proceedings and the forum passed an ex parte order in July 2020,” shared her legal counsel.
The store was told to refund the money charged for the bag with 8% interest. The forum concluded that charging for a carry bag was a deficiency in service and ordered DMart to pay Rs 2,000 as compensation for mental harassment and towards expenditure on the litigation.
DMart challenged this order for compensation before the state commission and argued that there is no provision in law that mandates that a store must give a customer a carry bag. The commission rejected the argument and upheld the forum’s conclusion that DMart had “shown unethical and unfair trade practice in demanding carry bag charges.”
Rejecting the appeal, the commission’s panel headed by judicial member M.J. Mehta said: “We are also endorsing the view that the demand for carry bag charges by the appellant (DMart) is unethical.”
It may be recalled that in a similar instance at the Hyderguda outlet in Hyderabad, a consumer court in August 2021, ordered DMart to recompense the customer, while negating the need to charge for carry bags.