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₹60k Fine Imposed on Britannia for Selling Biscuits Under Packaged Weight

The bench also directs Controller of Legal Metrology to ensure compliance with net quantity regulations for packaged commodities

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on May 23, 2024, 14:12:45

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consumer disputes, india, consumer forum, fine on britannia

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in Thrissur, in the south Indian state of Kerala, has issued an order requiring Britannia Industries and a bakery to pay a compensation of ₹60,000 to a consumer for selling biscuit packets that weighed 52 grammes less than the stated weight of 300 grammes.

A three-member bench of the Commission noted a significant discrepancy between the actual weight of the biscuit packets and the declared quantity of 300 grammes indicated on the packaging.

"It is evident that there is a substantial shortage in the net weight of the biscuits in the MO1 package. Specifically, the shortage exceeds 52 grammes (300-248) in the MO1 package (weight of the wrapper + weight of the product ie., biscuit)," the bench stated in its order of 26 September 2023.

The order was issued following a complaint from an individual who had purchased two packets of “Britannia Nutri Choice Thin Arrow Root Biscuits” manufactured by Britannia for ₹40 each.

He bought the biscuits from Chukkiri Royal Bakery, believing each packet weighed 300 grammes as printed on the packaging. However, he claimed that the packets weighed 268 grammes and 248 grammes respectively.

The complaint was initially filed with the Assistant Controller with the Flying Squad of Legal Metrology in Thrissur, who later verified and confirmed the weight shortage.

Subsequently, the consumer approached the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in Thrissur (District Commission) and filed a complaint, seeking an order to prevent the opposite parties from engaging in such illegal practices.

He also sought compensation for the financial, physical, and mental distress he experienced due to the manufacturer’s and seller’s exploitation and deception.

The Commission observed that, despite being served notices, neither Britannia nor the bakery (the opposite parties) submitted their written statements to the District Commission. The Commission proceeded against them ex parte and found that both parties had infringed upon the consumer's right to live free from exploitation, deception, or any form of unfair trade practice.

"Such deceptive actions by a manufacturer or trader threaten the very dignity of the consumer and his right to live without exploitation, deception, or any kind of unfair trade practice,” the consumer forum remarked.

It concluded that the actions of both the manufacturer and the seller constituted unfair trade practices and were in violation of the Consumer Protection Act and Section 30 (penalty for transactions contrary to standard weight or measure) of the Legal Metrology Act 2009.

Consequently, the Commission directed the opposite parties to pay ₹50,000 in compensation for the complainant's loss and ₹10,000 for his litigation costs.

Additionally, the Commission instructed the Controller of Legal Metrology of Kerala to conduct a statewide investigation and implement measures to ensure compliance with net quantity standards for packaged commodities.

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