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Companies charging money for bags with logos to face action soon

Companies charging money for bags with logos to face action soon

Kolkata: The state Consumer Affairs department is gearing up to crack down on some leading brands for charging money from consumers to provide plastic bags. As per Consumer Act, the companies can charge for plastic or any other carry bags from customers, but the bags should not have the company logo on them.

"We have conducted an enquiry on the basis of complaints by consumers that some leading departmental stores, garment stores, shoe stores etc. in the city are charging money from customers for carry bags with their own advertisement on it. This is not permitted as per Consumer Act and a company cannot charge from anybody for providing something that bears its own advertisement," said a senior official of the Consumer Affairs department.

The department will soon hold a meeting with a number of these companies and will pass on strict instructions that the latter should abstain from selling bags with company logos.

"If we find that they are not acting on our directives, we will drag the defaulting brand or company to the consumer court," the official added.

Upscale supermarkets and retail stores in the city charge in the range of Rs 3 to 10 from customers, for shopping bags that have their personalised logos.

In April this year, a person had moved the Chandigarh Consumer Commission against a leading shoe manufacturer for charging Rs 3 for a paper bag to carry the shoebox.

The man had contested that charging for a bag is justified but the company endorsing its own brand and charging against the same is unacceptable. The court had ruled in his favour and fined the shoe company Rs 9,000 as compensation.

It may be mentioned that there is no standardised punishment for such acts in Consumer Law and the consumer courts across the country have given different verdicts from time to time in such matters. The fines imposed have been different as well.

"The Centre has initiated the process of coming up with a Central Consumer Protection Authority, which will come up with some specific punitive measure under the ambit of Consumer Act. The process will take at least another six months," a top official in the state consumer forum pointed out.

SOUMITRA NANDI

SOUMITRA NANDI

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