We Indians are quite familiar with paying extra for the water or food we drink and finally which adds up at VAT on the bill. Not just restaurants, even shopkeepers across the country seem to fool the customers by charging more than the MRP printed on the cover of the food item. However, every citizen of the country should be informed that anyone charging more than the MRP, can be tacked legally. as it a violation of ‘fair trade practice’.
Not everyone takes their time out to question, the corruption and decides to pay the extra amount. However, a man from Hyderabad decides to question the practice of a popular eatery which charged extra for the mineral water bottles served, resulting the restaurant to pay a fine of Rs.20,000 to the customer.
The Sarvi Hotel located in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad was fined after it charged the customer Rs 40 for a bottle of mineral water instead of the MRP printed, Rs 20.
A customer, Ch. Kondaiah, angered for having to pay extra price, a resident of Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh asked why the eatery was charging beyond the MRP. The manager of the hotel had told him that charging over the MRP was the general practice, The Hindu reported.
Kondaiah approached the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-II to stop the unfair practice.
The hotel management brought up ‘Principles of Hospitality Law’ in defence of their practice and said that a customer is duty bound to “pay the charges so perused by him in the menu card, and the customer is stopped from claiming that he was overcharged”.
However, the court strongly ruled that authorities have full discretion to fix rates for any indigenous product but have no authority to charge extra for any “packaged goods”. “The opposite party is entitled to fix any rate and maintain a menu card with the price list for the food products prepared by them …. but in no way they have any authority to charge a rate above the MRP rate for packaged goods,” it said in its ruling.
The court also highlighted that charging over the MRP violated the Legal Metrology (packaged commodities) Rules 2011, and asked the hotel to pay the sum “towards damages for making illegal enrichment by charging excess amount from complainant/customers.”