What to do when shops charging more than MRP? It is natural nowadays few shops, restaurants, public places like in Malls, Railway Stations, Temples, of in film theater that shops charge you more than MRP. How to handle such situations?
What is the meaning of Maximum Retail Price or MRP?
Maximum Retail Price or MRP is the HIGHEST price at which the product can be sold in India. This includes the cost of production, transportation, middlemen profit and also all applicable taxes.
However, shops or retailers can discount on MRP and sell it to attract customers. Remember that it includes the profit margin of retailers, transportation charges and preserving the product (like in freezers).
This rule applies to all packed products.
I tried to explain the same in a simple way through the below image.
You clearly understood that any price above the MRP is totally illegal. However, you find that few shops, restaurants or your own milkmen charge higher than the MRP.
I will share my own experience. Few A few years back when I visited Tirupati, I found that all shops selling items over the MRP. When I questioned the shop owners, they agitated at me and told the reason that it cost them more to bring items from down to the top of the hill.
I complained the same to Temple Authorities. But later I found that it is the nexus between those shops and the temple authorities. After all, it is the temple for RICH who hardly care for money right? 🙂
You may notice such selling where shops keep freezers to preserve the products like milk, curd, or cold drinks. They charge more than MRP and claim as if their right to charge as they have to spend money for the freezer.
None of us notice nor bother to check the price tags. It may be our negligence or we not value the money of extra charge. I thought to write this post long back. But I got an inspiration from the news item which I read recently.
It was the case between bakery shop which charged Rs.4 more than MRP (Rs.10) for cold drinks bottle and the customer. He sued the shop as well as the Pepsico India Private Limited. However, the Pepsico India Private Limited stayed away from this issue by saying “it is not within its knowledge if the bakery owner charged Rs 4 extra”. Also, the company said ““It has dutifully carried out its duty of printing the MRP on the bottle and its duty ends there,”. Hence, the complaint was not raised against the company but with the shopper.
Later when the customer approached the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, the forum in it’s verdict nicely quoted as “The customers need not pay extra charges as the law mandates that no one can rich at the cost of others,”. Also, it clearly mentioned “It is worth to note that any soft drink is required to be served chilled only. Demanding extra amount other than the MRP attracts deficiency in service and unfair trade practice.”
Finally, the forum ordered the penalty of Rs.2,500 to the shop owner for charging more than MRP.
I really appreciate the customer who took this initiative and knocked the consumer forum. It is not the matter of Rs.4 or Rs.400 but by neglecting or showing apathy towards such practices, we indirectly promoting illegal activity of these shoppers.
What if there are two MRPs for the same product?
When shoppers and manufacturers forced to follow the strict rule of NOT SELLING THE PRODUCT BEYOND MRP PRICE, they resorted to one more trick to fool the customers. They started to create two MRPs for the same product.
Let us say a packaged water bottle MRP is Rs.20 and easily available at the nearby grocery shop, then the same bottle priced at Rs.40 and made available for selling inside the airport and multiplex. You will just look at MRP and they are selling exactly at the MRP. So you blindly pay as if the price is correct.
But in reality, you are paying more than the actual price of the product. This price irregularity is rampant especially in airports, amusement parks, and multiplex. Because companies and shops know that people flock to such places for the sake of so-called ENJOYMENT. They never bother or never show their status by arguing for the sake of few rupees.
However, Government cracked on this also. Now the same product can’t be sold in a state with two MRP rates. Also, if you found two different MRPs for the same product, then the lowest price of that product is considered as TRUE MRP.
Where to complain when shops charging more than MRP?
Now coming back to the main topic of this post, let us understand the structure of Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum.
When can the consumer file the complaint?
Before that first, understand when we can raise the complaint. A complaint may be made in writing under the following circumstances-
- Loss or damage is caused to the consumer due to unfair or restrictive trade practice of a trader or service provider;
- The article purchased by a consumer is defective;
- The services availed of by a consumer suffer from any deficiency;
- A trader or service provider, as the case may be, has charged for the goods or for the service mentioned in the complaint a price in excess of the stipulated price;
- Goods or services, which will be hazardous to life and safety, when used, are being offered for sale to the public
Who can file a Complaint?
- Any consumer;
- Any voluntary consumer association;
- Central Government or any State Government;
- One or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having same interest
- In the case of death of a consumer, his legal heir or representative.
Where to complain?
As per the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 a complaint can be filed in-
# District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (DCDRF)- If the value of the claim is up to Rs.20 lakh.
# State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC)- If the value of the claim exceeds Rs.20 lakhs but is within Rs.1 Crore.
# National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) – If the value of the claim exceeds Rs.1 Crore.
The lowest forum is District Forum. If you want to go against the ruling of District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, then you can knock the door of State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. Same way if you are not satisfied with National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, then you have to knock the door of Supreme Court. However, there is a limit of days for such action. You have to file the appeal against lower forum within 30 days from the date of the receipt of orders.
How to file the complaint with consumer forum?
- You can file the complaint on a plain paper.
- Stamp paper is not required for declaration.
- It should contain the details of the complainant and the opposite party.
- The complaint can be registered, in person, by the complainant or through his authorized agent or by post addressed to the Redressal Agency.
- It is not compulsory to engage a lawyer to file a case.
- The fees charged are very nominal according to the value of the claim.
There is no need to engage a lawyer or any other pleader and consumer can himself or through his representative file and represent his complaint. The details you have to furnish in the complaint form are as below.
- Name and complete address of the complainant.
- Name and complete address of the opposite party/parties.
- Date of purchase of goods or services availed.
- Amount paid for the above purpose.
- Particulars of goods purchased with numbers or details of services availed.
- Details of c the complaint, whether it is against Unfair Trade Practice/supply of defective goods/deficiency in service provided / collection of excess price, should explicitly be mentioned in the complaint petition.
- Bills/receipts and copies of connected correspondence, if any.
- The relief sought for under this Act.
- The complaint should be signed by the complainant or his authorized agent.
Is there any time limit to file the complaint in consumer forum?
You have to file the complaint within 2 years from the date of the cause of action/ deficiency in service/defect in goods arises. However, you may file after 2 years also, if you satisfy the forum that there are sufficient reasons for not filing the complaint within 2 years period.
Where to find the details of consumer forums?
You can find the District Forum list HERE.
You can find the National Forum details HERE.
Along with all these facilities, now Consumer Forum set a national Toll-Free number and also the online complaint registration forum.
The Toll-Free number of Consumer Forum is 1800-11-4000. Timing: All Days Except National Holidays (09:30 AM To 05:30 PM).
Otherwise, you can send SMS to 8130009809. They will get back to you.
You can now register the complaint online and also can track your complaint. To avail this facility, you have to visit the Consumer Helpline portal and register it.
Finally, it is not the question of Rs.1 or Rs.5 of what they charge extra on MRP. However, it is the question of ethical business. If you not raise the voice against such bad practices, then it is you who has to suffer in long run. Take a simple step and complain against whoever selling more than MRP or practicing dual MRP practices.
I am looking forward for some successfull stories from all of you related to this post 🙂