Consumer groups criticise shops charging for branded carry bags

The Consumer Protection Council has suggested that the Chandigarh Consumer Commission’s ruling that businesses cannot charge customers for carry-bags featuring brand logos be enforced nationwide.

Bata India was recently penalised by the Chandigarh Consumer Forum which has led to a wider discussion on branded carry bags

Following several cases where consumers have been asked to pay for bags to carry their in-store purchases at clothing and footwear stores, the Consumer Protection Council and a number consumers are asking for brands to be formally banned from charging money for carry bags that feature brand logos.

A case in April saw the footwear brand Bata ordered to pay Rs 9,000 ($125) for charging a customer Rs 3 for a paper bag for the shoes he had purchased in-store. The Chandigarh Consumer Forum that heard the case ruled in favour of the customer and, of the Rs 9,000 Bata was directed to pay, Rs 3,000 was paid directly to the customer as compensation. The Consumer Protection Council’s Tamil Nadu section agreed with the Chandigarh Consumer Forum’s ruling and stated that the directive should be enforced across India. 

The Bata case is not isolated as consumer, C Parthiban, told TNN that he was asked to pay Rs 5 for a branded carry bag at a clothing store. "I was disappointed that the outlet demands money to provide a carry bag on which their advertisement is printed," said Parthiban who also noted that he would only pay for a non-branded carry bag. 

The Consumer Rights Organisation in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, has also issued a list of demands to stores in its own region including Spencers and Max Retail asking them to stop selling branded plastic bags. The organisation called it an unfair trade practice.

Whether or not any official directives can be issued on the matter, the increasing reports of disgruntled consumers will potentially cause retailers to consider their business practices. 

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