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Updated: March 28, 2013 14:02 IST

‘Weighed’ and waylaid

M. Srinivas
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If the 37,679 cases booked by officials of Legal Metrology Department against errant shopkeepers are any indication, customers are constantly taken for a ride by market players ranging from provisional stores to vegetable and fish vendors to gold jewellers, ration shop dealers and petrol pump operators

Consumers beware! At the nearby grocery store or a busy mall, if you are purchasing essential commodities make sure that you are getting the right measurements and not paying more.

Legal Metrology officials have found that errant shop owners in the city are violating the packaging and weight measurement norms and selling their products.

If the 37,679 cases booked by officials of Legal Metrology Department against errant shopkeepers are any indication, customers are constantly taken for a ride by market players ranging from provisional stores to vegetable and fish vendors to gold jewellers, ration shop dealers and petrol pump operators.

Short delivery, missing declarations such as date of package, obscuring maximum retail price tag and its replacement with a price tag by the trader on packages are some of the most common violations noticed under Packaged Commodities Act.

The other weight-related violations also include traders’ failure to maintain testing certification of electronic weighing machines (EWMs).

Manipulation of EWMs through mode button option is one of the methods adopted by shopkeepers to fleece consumers.

So, when a consumer pays for a certain quantity, he may be actually taking home much less than what he sees in EWMs. For instance, a customer will get at least 100 grams less out for each kilogram if the errant shopkeeper tampers with the EWM using mode button.

Another fraudulent practice being adopted in several swanky malls is altering price tag using easily available price printing machines. Traders affix a new price sticker on the actual price tag printed by a manufacturer and then offer a discount on the product to woo their consumers. Shop owners also procure cartons without original MRP labels and affix their own prices and then offer a discount on the inflated prices.

This practice is usually adopted during March-April as part of stock clearance procedure. “We request consumers to be cautious if they notice such stickers on any product and alert us by sending an SMS or an e-mail,” says Flying Squad Assistant Controller K. Bhaskar.

Several city jewellers too are hoodwinking gold buyers. During raids conducted on jewellery shops recently, officials noticed EWM lacking verification certificates issued by the department. Machines were showing excess weight and shopkeepers failed to deduct the weight of studded stone from the ornaments.

Tampering of digital auto fare meters is also rampant in the city.

With roadside mechanic shops gaining expertise in tampering the meters, it has become a habit for most auto drivers to rig their meters and earn a quick buck.

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