Big Bazaar fined Rs 11,500 for charging for a carry bag

Multi-brand fast-moving consumer goods retailer Big Bazaar has been fined Rs 11,500 ($160.68) after its Chandigarh Elante Mall store charged a customer Rs 18 for a carry bag, as Indian retail continues to grapple with the issue of carry bags.

Big Bazaar has been penalised for charging for a carry bag - Big Bazaar- Facebook

Big Bazaar has been fined by the Chandigarh district consumer disputes redressal forum after a customer complained about being asked to purchase a carry bag while paying for items, TNN reported. Big Bazaar was instructed to pay Rs 1,500 in compensation to the complainant Sourav Kumar, refund the Rs 18 he was asked to spend on the bag, and pay Rs 10,000 into the consumer legal aid service account. 

“Charges for things such as cloth bag cannot be foisted separately upon consumers,” concluded the forum, as reported by TNN. “If imposed, it would amount to overcharging.”

This verdict will send a message to other retailers that charging for bags in this way is not allowed. 

The case is one of a number of consumer cases this year relating to retail outlets’ carry bag policy. Previous cases brought up at various district consumer disputes redressal forums, including against the footwear brand Bata, concerned customers being charged for branded carry bags. This case concerns Big Bazaar not adequately informing customers that they have to pay for carry bags, as the complainant alleged.

As many Indian retailers push towards a reduction in plastic packaging and phase out plastic carry bags, the industry is figuring out how best to do this. 

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