Shopkeepers issuing cash memos and bills carrying a footnote that ‘goods once sold will not be taken back’ could face penal action. Controller of Legal Metrology Department and Commissioner of Commercial Taxes are empowered to conduct periodic inspections at sales outlets to ensure that the said stipulation is not carried in bills.

The Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has issued an order on June 29 to this effect. The Commission was dismissing an appeal against a verdict of the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Ernakulam.

The CDRF, Ernakulam, had given the verdict on October 31, 2012, in a complaint filed by two persons, M.N.Manoharan and Sebastian Abraham, against officer in-charge of Cochin Duty Free Shop, and Controller of Legal Metrology. The complaint pertained to a bill with the said footnote received by Mr. Manoharan on the purchase of food item from the shop on July 3, 2011.

The district consumer court observed that the stipulation violated the Consumer Protection Act. According to the Act, any aggrieved consumer has the right to get relief against defective goods, deficiency in service, overpricing, including unfair and restrictive trade practices followed by traders, manufacturers and service providers.

The consumer court also noted that the Government Order dated November 3, 2007, said the unilateral condition that ‘goods once sold will not be taken back / exchanged’ was against Section 14 of Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

The authority of Legal Metrology Department to conduct inspections had also been mentioned in the GO. The State Commission upheld the CDRF verdict.

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