A consumer court has directed ITC Limited to pay Rs 1 lakh in compensation to a consumer who accused it of deceptive practices for packing only 15 biscuits in a packet supposed to contain 16.
The complaint was filed by Chennai resident P Dillibabu after he found 15 biscuits in packs of 16 each, sold by ITC, and the court ruled in favour of the complainant, finding ITC guilty of “unfair trade practices”.
According to media reports, in December 2021, while in Manali, the complainant purchased 24 packets of ‘Sun Feast Marie Light’ biscuits from a local retail store. However, upon opening the packets, he claimed that he discovered that one of the 16 biscuit packs contained only 15. Dillibabu said he promptly approached both the retail store and ITC for an explanation but received no satisfactory response from either party.
Dillibabu had said in his complaint that each biscuit was priced at 75 paise, and ITC manufactured approximately 50 lakh packets of these biscuits daily. He extrapolated and accused ITC, headquartered in Kolkata, of swindling consumers out of ₹29 lakh each day through this alleged misrepresentation.
In its defence, ITC had contended that the product was sold based on weight and not the number of biscuits per pack. In this instance, the advertised net weight of the product was 76 grams, the company stated.
The commission, however, examined this claim and found that the actual weight of the product was only 74 grams. In return, ITC’s counsel cited the Legal Metrology Rules of 2011, which allow for a maximum permissible error of 4.5 grams for pre-packaged commodities. The judge disagreed, asserting that these rules were applicable only to items considered ‘volatile’ in nature.
In its ruling, the consumer court found ITC guilty of engaging in “unfair trade practices” and ordered the company to cease selling the particular batch of biscuits in question. Additionally, the judge directed ITC to pay Rs 1 lakh as compensation to Dillibabu.