Of late, I have come across many people who crib about how costly life is in Bangalore, what with the security deposits for residential buildings to the breakfast meal at a mentionable eatery. There are some things on which we practically can do nothing, until and unless the Indian economy improves. But we necessarily don’t have to wait for the (pervasive) Indian mentality to change.
I bet most of the people on my friend list are hooked to a daily dose of cold caffeine in the form of Pepsi, Coca Cola, Thums Up, while many would prefer the aerated flavours of Sprite, Mirinda, Limca and some fruity people would be avid consumers of Maaza, Frooti, Slice. Then there are people who require a drag of the good old smoke branded by ITC while others would prefer some international flavours in their lungs. Of course I’m not going to forget the weekend bash when friends and friends of friends come over. The time calls for rejoicing and some slaking with aged malts or fermented juices. For the clueless ones, I am referring to the plain and simple (sometimes sophisticated) alcohol.
Coming to why the topic has been put to paper, on countless occasions I have come across friends, acquaintances and strangers who have struck up a conversation on (mostly) these aforementioned commodities being charged more than the MRP. So, I decided to look for a solution (I know, some of you are giggling). I was all set for a night of coffee shots and weary eyes. But to my surprise, I found sources of information already listed in the top 10 results of a simple Google search. The exact terms that I searched for were – “Rates exceeding MRP“. Voila! I was directed to a few links on Times of India, The Hindu and few other e-papers and after scuttling through the same, I found something of a Holy Grail for us stricken souls. http://fcamin.nic.in/ – The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Distribution.
Owing to the ease with which I’d found it, I surmised that getting a choice login id for making a Consumer Complaint would be hard. Imagine my surprise when I found myself to be the 3000-something visitor to the page! So many suffering and so less actually seek the cure?
Down to the rules and regulations now.
Rule 6(1)(e) of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules mandate that on every package meant for retail sale is mentioned the retail sale price. Rule 2(m) defines “retail sale price” as the maximum price at which the commodity may be sold to the ultimate consumer and the price shall be printed in the form of the MRP that is inclusive of all taxes.
Rule 18(5) also says that no wholesale dealer or retailer shall obliterate, smudge or alter the retail sale price indicated by the manufacturer or the packer or the importer.
The most important one. Rule 18(2) says, “No retail dealer or other person including manufacturer, packer, importer and wholesale dealer shall make any sale of any commodity in packed form at a price exceeding the retail sale price thereof.”
Thus, selling at a price higher than the MRP is a clear violation of the Packaged Commodities Rules and because the state governments enforce the rules, a consumer has to complain to the Department of Legal Metrology. The penalty for the same, as far as I know, is around Rs. 2000. One can seek refuge under the Consumer Protection Act too, but you have to have a proper bill. State governments of AP and Maharashtra have even got toll-free lines for consumers to complain on these aspects.
All the above are of course, for retailers, excluding restaurants. For them, I’ll try and touch base in another article or note. But the important thing to note is, the more the number of complaints, the more frequent they are, the sooner everyone will stop making a sour face while shelling out two extra bucks for a “cold” soft drink. The next weekend that arrives, remember that every bottle of beer is going to go out of your wallet. An extra 30 bucks on every of those could easily have paid for a pack of fritters or smokes. Think about it.
The link again -
http://fcamin.nic.in/ – The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Distribution or you can go directly to
http://consumeraffairs.nic.in/consumer/index.php – The Department of Consumer Affairs
There are helpful links on RTI on that page too, for a quick reference. It’s time to stop crying and start shouting!