One Biscuit Less in Sunfeast Marie Light Packet, Consumer Court Tells ITC to Pay Rs 1 Lakh to Consumer
Mangaluru: This morning while shopping at Reliance Smart supermarket in Attaver, Mangaluru, walking in front of the biscuits aisle I was wondering whether to buy any biscuit packets, for the fact, the ITC company which markets their Sunfeast Marie Light biscuits had put one less biscuit, and thus landed up in paying Rs 1 lakh to the consumer after the buyer had filed a case, and the District Consumer Court in Tamil Nadu heaped him get Rs 1 Lakh. Complainant P Dillibabu of Chennai alleged that there were only 15 biscuits inside the packets as against the advertised 16.
The district consumer forum here in TN has directed ITC Ltd Food Division to pay Rs 1 lakh to a consumer for alleged unfair trade practice after he complained that packets of the corporate’s biscuit brand Sunfeast Marie Light had one biscuit lesser than that advertised on the wrapper. The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, in a recent order, also directed the company to “discontinue the selling of the disputed biscuits ‘Sunfeast Marie Light’ in Batch No. 0502C36 with the specific endorsement”.
It dismissed the company’s submission that the challenge made about the weight of biscuits would not apply. “It is argued by the learned counsel for the 1st opposite party (the company) that the product was sold only based on the weight and not on the number of biscuits. Such arguments could not be accepted as the wrapper provides the information to the buyers/consumers to purchase the product only based on the number of biscuits. The potential consumer would only see the wrapper to decide the purchase of the product as the product information available on the packing influences the consumer’s buying behaviour and the product information available on the wrapper or label plays a significant role in customer satisfaction,” the order said.
In the present case, the paramount allegation is only about a lesser number of biscuits. “Thus we answer the point accordingly holding that the 1st opposite party being the manufacturer and marketer had committed unfair trade practice and deficiency in service in misleading the consumers and that the complainant had successfully proved the same by sufficient admissible evidence,” it said.
While Dillibabu sought to impose Rs 100 crore fine on the company and the store that sold it and Rs 10 crore as compensation for the alleged act of unfair trade practice and deficiency in service, it said the relief sought by the complainant was exorbitant. The 2nd opposite party the shopkeeper had no role to play concerning the reduction in the number of biscuits. “Hence, complaint dismissed against him,” it said.
In its defence, ITC submitted that there was no deficiency or defect in the 76-gram biscuit packs of Sunfeast Marie Light in terms of the quantity that the packs were required to maintain under the law. Citing Legal Metrology Rules, 2011, it contended that if a pre-packaged commodity has a declared net quantity between 50 gm and 100 gm, then a maximum permissible error in excess or deficiency of 4.5 gm of the declared quantity was allowed on such items. As per the rules, a package that has a declared weight of 76 g was permitted to weigh between 71.5 gm and 80.5 gm, it said.