Hyderabad: Fleecing customers by charging more than the maximum retail price or MRP continues unabated.
The legal metrology department recently raided several malls in the city and registered around 120 cases and seized goods worth Rs 1 crore.
As per the rules, products sold in shops must display the batch number, date of manufacture, maximum retail price, place and name of the manufacturer, date of manufacture and expiry and other warnings as stipulated. It is also mandatory for the manufacturer to print the details of the company official concerned to redress grievances and complaints.
“Some shopkeepers paste barcode stickers over the MRP. The difference in price can vary from Rs 2 to Rs 50. The MRP itself is fixed taking into account all the overheads including taxes borne by the distributor, manufacturer and retailer,” says M. Srinivas Reddy, state president of the Consumer Rights Protection Organisation.
“There is no regular monitoring by officials resulting in repeat violations. Consumers are also not aware about their rights,” he added.
After registering cases and confiscating the goods, notice is issued to the retailer and the violators mentioning the compounding fee. The management of the establishment or the manufacturer pays the penalty or provides an explanation to the officials and gets away.
An official in the legal metrology department gave the usual excuse of shortage of staff to explain the lack of scrutiny. He said district level officials including those working in the city are handling additional charge of three different posts.
Met department targets gold traders
The legal metrology department has its sights fixed on gold merchants in the city following complaints that they are charging more than the prevailing bullion price for the day.
The department recently raided a store in Secunderabad that was charging more than the prevailing bullion market price on 22 carat gold. It was also found to be levying wastage and making charges.
The law stipulates that the purity of the gold and weight of the gold and the stones should be mentioned separately. The margin of error is allowed for only 1 milligram of gold, according to the legal metrology act.
For instance, 100 gm of 24 carat gold is considered 100 per cent pure but 22 carat gold contains 91.6 gm gold and 8.4gm of some other metal.
Gold merchants cheat customers by selling low quality gold as 22 carat gold. Though the legal metrology sleuths check gold shops for violations in weighing machines, they are not in a position to check the actual promised quantity of gold in ornaments.
More violations found on imported products
Legal metrology officials, who are raiding malls have noticed more violations on imported products which are on sale .
On imported products, the manufacturers or the importers are failing to mention the name and place of manufacturer for the benefit of the customer. “In addition to this, the package or product should contain all the details including maximum retail price, batch number, date of manufacture and expiry date and other details as mandated by the rules,” said an official.
Several malls are selling imported products including food items, perfumes, diapers, soft toys, make up kits and sports equipment.
Officials said that manufacturers exporting products to India should ensure that the local packaging rules with regard to pricing, date of manufacture and others are fulfilled. “If the manufacturer fails to do it, the importer should see that the local rules are adhered to before the products are distributed to retailers,” said the official....