Government acts on consumer concerns about water being sold above MRP at hotels and restaurants
- • 66% consumers said they have experienced water being sold above MRP in hotels/restaurants
- • Suggested that vending machines be put on airports, cinema halls, cricket stadiums etc.
12 December, 2017, New Delhi: The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has told the Supreme Court today that over charging for pre-packed or pre-packaged products was an offence under the Legal Metrology Act. Section 36 of Legal Metrology Act states that anyone caught selling, distributing or delivering any pre-packaged commodity that does not conform to the declarations on the package shall be punished with fine up to Rs 25,000 for the first offence. It can increase to Rs 50,000 for second offence and subsequent offences can attract a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh or imprisonment for one year or both.
This comes after a recent survey conducted by community social media platform LocalCircles, 66% of the consumers that participated said that they have paid more than the regular MRP for a water bottle at a restaurant or hotel. Out of the 8197 citizens who participated, only 8% said that the bottle had a regular MRP and they were billed for MRP only.
Airlines offer very low fares through advance purchase but make the fares non-refundable. So, in case the person needs to cancel his ticket due to an unforeseen circumstance, he ends up paying a majority of the ticket price as the cancellation fee.
The second poll asked what was a reasonable charge for excess baggage on domestic flights beyond the 15 kg limit. 18% said it should be Rs. 150/kg, 57% said Rs. 100/kg was good and 10% said they were fine with Rs. 220-350/kg, which is the current rate. 15% were not sure about it.
One of the many incidents as reported by a consumer on LocalCircles:
In the above incident a consumer was billed INR 145 for a bottle of water with a published MRP of INR 18.
Consumers highlighted that is was not just restaurants and hotels where water is being sold above MRP. It is also cineplexes, malls, stadiums and airports where they have faced the issue. When asked if the placement of vending machines in public private spaces could be a solution to ensure MRP compliance, 88% consumers supported it, 6% did not support this move and another 6% did not have an opinion on it.
As the packaged commodity rules 2017 amendment goes into effect from Jan 1, 2018 it restricts not just selling above MRP but also the concept of dual MRP. Almost all the major brands of packaged water have been packaging their product with different MRPs. Per the new rules, one product should have one MRP and even if the product is being sold by manufacturer to a special channel but for consumption by the retail consumer, it must have only one MRP.