Hyderabad: The consumer dispute redressal commission ordered Reliance Fresh, Ameerpet, to pay Rs. 1,000 as compensation to a customer for charging Rs. 4 for a carry bag.

Vadije Anand Rao, a resident of Ameerpet, purchased products worth Rs. 95.55 from Reliance Fresh and was charged Rs. 4 for the non-woven red bag with the store's logo.

The complainant said Reliance Fresh indulged in unfair trade practice by charging for the bag and for using customers as a medium of advertisement because the bags bear the store's logo and the customer who is buying the same is, in fact, publicizing the brand.

Reliance Fresh contended that the purchase of the bag was optional and the customers were under no such compulsion to buy it. They are allowed to bring their own bags. "Carry bags are reusable and as per the standards fixed by the government," said Reliance Fresh.

After observing all the documents and evidence, the commission observed that it is not logically convincing that customers are not allowed to carry bags containing items/goods purchased from other shops and they are asked to deposit their bags at the entrance. The store expects the customers to carry the purchased items from the billing counter to the entrance, thus compelling customers to buy the bag.

The commission said that retailers/shopkeepers charging for plastic/paper/cloth bags with their brand logos printed on them and asking the customers to pay for the bags is not only unfair trade practice but also undue profiteering at the expense of the common man.

The commission asked Reliance Fresh to refund Rs. 4 to the complainant and pay Rs.1,000 for harassment and mental agony caused to the complainant. It asked the store to stop charging for the bags and provide free bags to all customers who purchase articles from the store.

Sumit Jha

Sumit Jha is currently a multimedia journalist with NewsMeter. An alumnus of the University of Hyderabad and Amity University. He is specialised in Video Production. He was also a contributor at PARI network. Hailing from rural Bihar has spent his childhood shifting from places and people. Growing up he felt the need to document the lives and dreams of rural India. A lover of visual storytelling goes around the cities to search for Stories. He primarily reports on civic, consumer, health, human interest and data stories. You can follow Sumit on Twitter @sumitjha__

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