Chandigarh, December 20
“Dominos has no right to recover the expenses borne by it on the packing of the goods and putting the goods in a deliverable state”, with these words, in a hard hitting order, Justice (Retd) Raj Shekhar Attri, President of the UT State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh today dismissed appeals filed by Dominos and directed it to pay punitive damages of Rs. 5,00,000/- in each of the two cases.
Earlier, complainant Pankaj Chandgothia filed a complaint before District Forum-1, Chandigarh, headed by Rattan Singh Thakur, against Dominos outlet in Sector 8 Chandigarh that on 13th November, 2018 he ordered two regular pizzas for takeaway. The order was placed at the cash counter where the cashier asked for an amount of Rs. 305.89 as the Bill price. The two pizzas were given to the driver in a paper carry-bag. The Paper Carry-Bag was bearing the advertisement of Dominos on both sides. When the complainant saw the Bill, he was shocked to see that the carry bag was also charged for. A sum of Rs. 13.33 was shown as the billed amount for the carry bag and thereafter tax was charged on the total amount. Chandgothia contended that charges of such things cannot be separately foisted upon the consumers. This practice is unfair trade practice and exploitation of the consumer the consumer.
Chandgothia also pointed out that the said Carry Bag has the name and logo printed of Dominos, thus it also amounts to wrongly make its customer advertise for it, even after taking charges for the carry bag.
The consumer is impliedly and implicitly “forced” to purchase the paper carry bag. The items purchased need to be carried out in a carry bag. A person cannot be expected to carry the purchased items in hands.
Chandgothia referred to the Sale of Goods Act, 1930 of which Section 36(5) says that the expenses of and incidental to putting the goods into a deliverable state shall be borne by the seller.
“Deliverable state” means that the goods must be put in such a state that it is convenient to carry them which means that the goods must be handed over in a Carry Bag to the customer.
Chandgothia pointed out that in his case against Dominos, while District Forum 1 only awarded Rs. 100/- as compensation and Rs. 500/- as litigation expenses and Rs. 10,000/- as punitive damages, whereas the District Forum – 2 in another case of Jitender Bansal awarded Rs. 1500/- as compensation and litigation expenses and Rs. 5,00,000/- as punitive damages. He prayed for uniformity in decisions.
Justice Attri in his order said that in the case of Pankaj Chandgothia vs Dominos “the compensation awarded by the Forum-1 is inadequate and it should be equal to the relief granted in the case of Jitender Bansal on the basis of doctrine of equality and stare decisis which requires that in both the complaints, equal relief be granted as the facts in both the complaints re akin to each other.”
The Commission dismissed the appeals filed by Dominos with further costs of Rs. 2,500/- to be paid to the complainant and accepted the appeal filed by Pankaj Chandgothia, complainant with costs of Rs. 2,500/- to be paid by Dominos.
Dominos has been directed to provide free carry-bags to all customers forthwith who purchase articles from its outlet/selling centres, to refund to the Complainant the amount of Rs.13.33/- wrongly charged for the paper carry bag , to pay Rs.1500/- to the complainant towards compensation for harassment and mental agony as well as litigation expenses, deposit Rs. 10,000/- in the Consumer Legal Aid Account of the State Commission and deposit Rs.4,90,000/- in Poor Patient Welfare Fund (PPWF) of PGIMER (Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research), Chandigarh and submit the receipt thereof with this Commission.
This order shall be complied with by the OPs within the period of 30 days, failing which they shall also be liable to pay additional compensatory cost of Rs.5,000/- to the complainant, apart from complying with the above relief. The complainant shall ensure the complete compliance of this order having remedy under relevant provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
Exact same order has been passed in the second case of Jitender Bansal while dismissing the appeal filed by Dominos with costs of Rs. 2,500/- to be paid to the complainant.