ITC Limited Pays Rs. 1 Lakh to Customer for Packaging Error
The saying “One small mistake can turn out to be a big blunder” became a reality for ITC Limited when they were compelled to pay Rs. 1 lakh to a customer for a packaging error in a Sunfeast Marie Light biscuit packet.
This incident occurred two years ago when P Dillibabu from MMDA Mathur, Chennai, purchased two biscuit packets from a Manali retail store in December 2021, with the intention of feeding stray animals. To his dismay, he discovered that one of the packets contained only fifteen biscuits instead of the advertised sixteen, as reported by the Times of India.
Dillibabu attempted to seek clarification from both his local store and ITC but received unsatisfactory responses. Frustrated, he lodged a complaint with a consumer court, emphasizing that each biscuit was priced at 75 paise. In his complaint, he calculated that with the company manufacturing nearly 50 lakh packets a day, ITC was potentially defrauding the public of Rs. 29 lakh daily.
The FMCG giant, in its defense before the court, argued that the product was sold based on its weight, not the number of biscuits inside. They claimed that the advertised net weight of the product was 76 grams. However, upon examination, the commission found it to weigh only 74 grams. ITC’s legal representation referred to the Legal Metrology Rules of 2011, which allow for a maximum permissible error of 4.5 grams for pre-packaged commodities. Nevertheless, the judge disagreed, stating that this rule applied only to items considered ‘volatile’ in nature.
Consequently, on August 29, the court ruled that ITC had engaged in ‘unfair trade practices’ and ordered the discontinuation of the sale of that specific batch of biscuits. Furthermore, the judge mandated that the company compensate the consumer with Rs. 1 lakh, concluding a case where a seemingly minor error resulted in a significant cost to the company, all over a single biscuit!
Implications of the Packaging Error
The incident involving ITC Limited’s packaging error highlights the importance of accurate product labeling and packaging. Here are some key takeaways:
|Consumer Rights||Consumers have the right to receive the exact quantity of a product as advertised.|
|Legal Regulations||Companies must adhere to legal metrology rules and ensure their products meet weight specifications.|
|Customer Complaints||Customer feedback and complaints can lead to legal action if not addressed properly.|
|Financial Consequences||Even minor packaging errors can result in significant financial losses for companies.|
It serves as a reminder to businesses to maintain the highest standards in product packaging to avoid legal and financial repercussions. Consumer trust and brand reputation are at stake, making it essential to prioritize accuracy in product labeling and packaging.
The case of ITC Limited’s packaging error and the subsequent payout of Rs. 1 lakh to the customer underscore the importance of attention to detail in the consumer goods industry. Companies must ensure that their products are accurately labeled and packaged to uphold consumer trust and avoid legal consequences.