Domino’s pays the price for ‘unfair trade practice’

Had charged Rs12 for a carry bag from a customer after which it was directed to pay Rs2,500 as fine

Domino’s pays the price for ‘unfair trade practice’

Ajay Joshi

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 9

There seems to be no end to the practice of charging for carry bags. In Jalandhar, too, charging Rs12 for a carry bag cost Domino’s dearly. The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, in its recent order, has directed Domino’s to pay Rs2,500 to consumer.

Along with this, the Model Town located store of Domino’s was asked to return the cost of the paper carry bag. In its decision, the forum also made several comments regarding the arbitrariness of such big stores. Advocate Jatinder Arora (51), a resident of Chhoti Baradari Part-1, had bought food items from Domino’s in April 2019. He had filed a complaint at the commission on January 20 last year.

The total bill of the eatables was Rs243.40. Apart from this, Domino’s also charged Rs12 separately for the paper bag. When the complainant resisted to pay and protested against the unfair practice, the employee sitting at the cash counter misbehaved with him and threatened him of dire consequences if he takes any action.

When the commission took out the notice in this regard, Domino’s, filing the counter statement, cited the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, through which it was claimed that they were not compelled to provide free carry bags to a customer. According to the rules, no carry bag shall be made available free of cost by retailers to consumers and the municipal authority concerned shall determine the minimum price of carry bags depending upon their quality and size, which covers their material and waste management costs to encourage their re-use, so as to minimise plastic waste generation. However, they could not produce any record in this regard. Domino’s officials confessed that they had recovered Rs12 for the carry bag. They said it depends on the customer whether to take the bag or not. The workers gave the carry bag only after taking the consent of the customer.

But the commission counsel consisting president Kuljit Singh and member Jyotsna did not agree with this argument and said large stores such as Domino’s do not allow customers to bring their own carry bags. They know that if this is not the case, then customers would not easily agree to take carry bags for them.

The commission held that the cost of the carry bag was included in the profit of the product. In such a situation, charging a separate price is an unfair trade practice.

Subsequently, the commission directed Domino’s to refund Rs12 for the carry bag, Rs500 as compensation for harassment, Rs1000 as litigation expenses and also to deposit Rs1,000 in the Consumer Legal Aid account of this commission. Further, the compliance of this order should be made by Domino’s within 45 days.

To comply within 45 days

The commission counsel consisting president Kuljit Singh and member Jyotsna held that the cost of the carry bag was included in the profit of the product. In such a situation, charging a separate price was an unfair trade practice. Subsequently, the commission directed Domino's to refund Rs12 for the carry bag, Rs500 as compensation for harassment, Rs1000 as litigation expenses and also to deposit Rs1,000 in the Consumer Legal Aid account of this commission. Further, the compliance of this order should be made by Domino's within 45 days.

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