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One biscuit less in pack, consumer forum in TN directs ITC to pay Rs one lakh as compensation

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TIRUVALLUR (TN), Sept 6: The district consumer forum here has directed ITC Ltd Food Division to pay
a sum of Rs one 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 with regard to weight of biscuits
would not apply.
Complainant P Dillibabu of Chennai alleged there were only 15 biscuits inside the packets as against
the advertised 16.
“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 number of biscuits. Such arguments could not be accepted
as the wrapper clearly 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 behavior and that 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 with regard to 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 imposing 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 reliefs sought for by the complainant was exorbitant.
The 2nd opposite party being the shop keeper had no role to play with respect to reduction in the
number of biscuits. “Hence, complaint dismissed against him,” it said.
The consumer forum subsequently directed that Rs one lakh be given as compensation to Dillibabu
by the company and another Rs 10,000 towards litigation expenses to be paid by it to him.
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 law.
Citing Legal Metrology Rules 2011, it contended that if a pre-packaged commodity has a declared
net quantity between 50 grams to 100 grams, then a maximum permissible error in excess or in
deficiency of 4.5 gram 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
g to 80.5 g, it said. (PTI)

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The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur
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