Written by Sumedha Sharma
The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has dismissed the appeal of Lifestyle International retail store in Chandigarh and has upheld the order passed by the forum in January, wherein it had directed the retail store to provide free carry bags to all customers who purchase articles from its shop. It had also given a compensation of Rs 3000 to the complainant, besides ordering the store to deposit a cost of Rs 10,000 in the Consumer Legal Aid Account in the name of Secretary, State Commission, UT.
The Lifestyle International, in its appeal, argued that there is no legal obligation on them to provide free carry bags and the customers are free to carry the goods so purchased in their own carry bags or in any manner that suits them best.
Advocate Rohan Mittal, counsel for Lifestyle International, also argued that the forum failed to appreciate that in absence of any law prohibiting the sale of carry bags, they were well within the bounds of law to charge for these.
Advocate Pankaj Chandgothia, complainant in the matter, argued that it is nowhere displayed in the shop premises or at the entry gate that the customers could carry the goods purchased in their own carry bags or that they are allowed to bring their own carry bags inside the showroom. He argued that thus, the appeal of Lifestyle be dismissed.
The commission, after hearing the arguments, held, "…with all concern, we must say that charging for paper carry bags is totally against consumerism…it is a general practice prevalent in the market that if a person goes to the shop premises to buy some goods, he/she is not allowed to enter the said shop premises with any carry bag. ..A person who buys some articles/products from the shop premises like the appellant/opposite party is expected to be provided with free carry bag to carry those articles up to his vehicle or destination…"
The commission, thus ruled that the order passed by the forum does not suffer from any illegality or perversity.