Ramakanta Biswas

A consumer court in Cuttack has directed the authorities of a shopping mall in the city to pay a compensation of Rs 25,000 to a customer for charging a sum of Rs 6 from him towards the cost of a carry bag.

The district consumer dispute redressal commission, Cuttack has directed the branch manager and managing director of the shopping mall located at Buxibazar to pay the customer, Padmolochan Rout, Rs 10,000 towards compensation for his mental agony and harassment. 

Besides, he will get a compensation of Rs 15,000 towards his litigation expenses.   

As per the complaint, Rout, a resident of Muliasahi of Haripur under Purighat police limits in Cuttack, had purchased a T-shirt for a price of Rs 249 from the shopping mall on December 28, 2020. While making the payment at the cash counter, he was asked about requirement of a carry bag. 

When Rout agreed to the requirement, the carry bag was provided to him, but a price of Rs 6 was charged for the carry bag without intimating the customer. Subsequently, when he came to know about the extra charges, he filed a case with the commission. 

The complainant contended that he was not made clear that he would be charged Rs 6 towards the price of the carry bag if he required the same. He alleged that the shopping mall adopted unfair trade practice as nowhere conspicuously it was mentioned at the shopping mall that carry bag would cost Rs 6. 

Hearing the arguments, the commission observed that the shopping mall authorities adopted unfair trade practice by selling the carry bag to the customer and thus they are deficient in their service. 

The commission further said that the complainant is definitely entitled to the reliefs and directed the shopping mall authorities to release the compensation within 30 days from the date of the receipt of the order.

"I had filed the complaint with counselling centre attached to the state commission. The counsellor, BK Sinha, immediately admitted my grievances and issued notice (to the opposite parties). However, none from the opposite parties appeared. Subsequently, I had filed a case with the district commission under Section 35 of Consumer Protection Act," said the petitioner.

"The district commission passed the order in my favour. The court realised that the carry bag provided to me did not carry any price tag. The shopping did not mention that they are charging Rs 6 from consumers for carry bag. On this basis, the commission granted me Rs 25,000 compensation," he added.