It's a common practice to see vendors overcharging you for packaged goods at railway station kiosks, airports, malls and cinemas. But to the relief of so many of us who on a frequent basis throng to these places, government has notified that with effect from January 1, 2018, differential pricing regimen for products shall be done away with.
The notification has come in after the complaints made by consumers on the front. So, consequently companies shall be disallowed to charge different amounts over and above the maximum retail price or MRP for different packaged goods.
A legal metrology official as reported to the leading business dailies said ""We are giving a breathing period to the manufacturers, so they have enough time for compliance". Legal metrology rules have been framed for pre-packaged goods and as per them manufacturers have to comply with some of the labeling requirements.
The consumer affairs department said "Based on the experience of implementation of the rules and after a detailed stakeholder consultation, the department has amended the rules, aimed at enhanced consumer protection, but at the same time balancing with the requirement of ease of doing business," the consumer affairs department said.
Also, there has been guideline that no dual MRP for the same pre-package commodity shall be entertained unless it obtains a special provision under law.
However the notification does not apply to restaurateurs as they fall under the purview of providing supplier services. The notification also includes exclusive medical devices used in surgical purposes including stents, orthopaedic implants, syringes, valves and other tools that they should now onwards include the MRP.
This will ensure that hospitals and chemists do not have a blank cheque to charge patients indiscriminately because the products did not carry an MRP on their label earlier," said Rajiv Nath of the Association of Indian Medical Device Industry. Some essential devices like artificial heart valves and catheters did not display MRPs earlier and patients we .. re overcharged for them, added Nath.
"Many imported medical devices did not display MRPs because foreign companies argued they were not being sold directly to the patients over the counter," he said.
Consumers were facing difficulty as devices were sold according to the paying capacity of the consumer. Even after capping of MRPs, many companies were not displaying (the MRP)," the department of consumer affairs said.