Consumers beware!
Less value for money
Many manufacturers use deceptively big packages which tend to mislead the consumer
Pushpa Girimaji

Pushpa GirimajiRecently, I bought an expensive face cream, meant to reduce wrinkles. The bottle looked so big that I thought it was worth spending so much. I was also assured by the shop assistant that it would last at least two months. However, after purchase, when I opened the bottle, I was shocked to find that the bottle was so designed as to hold very little cream, while from outside, it looked very big. I really feel cheated. Is there anything I can do to protest? Are there any laws against this?

Under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, such deceptive packing is not allowed. Section 23 of the Rules say that "If, on the determination of the quantity contained in the sample packages, the Director or Controller or the Legal Metrology Officer finds that the quantity contained in the package agrees with the declaration of the quantity made on the package or label thereon, but the package is a deceptive package, he shall require the manufacturer or the packer, as the case may be, to repack and re-label such package and in the event of the omission or the failure on the part of the manufacturer or the packer, as the case may be, to repack or re-label such deceptive package, in accordance with the standards established by or under these rules, seize them, take appropriate punitive action in accordance with the Act (Legal Metrology) and take adequate steps for the safe custody of such packages until they are produced in a court as evidence"

The rules also explain what is a deceptive package: "a package which is so designed as to deliberately give to the consumer an exaggerated or misleading impression as to the quantity of the commodity contained therein, except where bigger dimensions of the package can be justified by the manufacturer or the packer on the ground that such dimensions are necessary for giving protection to the commodity contained in such package or for meeting the requirements of the machine used for filling such package", it says.

Your complain fits into the description of deceptive package explained under the Rules. So please complain to the department of legal metrology about it. Here, since a bigger bottle is not necessitated for protecting the cream within, the manufacturer has no excuse for such bigger bottle. It is obvious that he is using a bottle that looks big from outside to fool consumers into believing that the high price is justified. In a number of cases, manufacturers get away with such deceptive packaging because consumers do not complain. I would also suggest that in future, always check the net quantity specified on the packages before buying. And if the net quantity is not properly displayed, complain about it too.

Potato wafers or chips packets are always highly oversized. So much so that when you open the packet, the contents come as a big disappointment. Can I complain against the manufacturer?

The rules that I have quoted above, makes a provision for such packages on the ground that such oversized packages may be necessary in some cases to protect the commodity contained in it or for meeting the requirements of the machine used for filling such package. The manufacturers of wafers or chips have been using this provision to argue that such oversized packaging is necessitated to protect the thin wafers inside as otherwise, they break up. That's how they have got away so far.

But is that really so? Today, the packaging industry is so advanced that I am sure, manufacturers of wafers can find a way of overcoming this problem through different kind of packaging. Besides, how oversized should the package be? These are all issues that need to be examined by experts. As of now, they have got away.

But I would still suggest that you call the consumer care number given by the manufacturer on the package and complain. You can also lodge your protest with the department of legal metrology.