This week Your Advocate is Barrister Omar Khan Joy, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He is the head of the chambers of a renowned law firm, namely, 'Legal Counsel', which has expertise mainly in commercial law, corporate law, family law, employment and labor law, land law, banking law, constitutional law, criminal law, IPR and in conducting litigations before courts of different hierarchies.
I am a job holder and like many others in Bangladesh, I love to go to restaurants after work or on weekends for socialising, for recreation or just when I am tired of home cooked food. So the other day I went to a fancy restaurant where I ordered a can of soft drink. Although the can of drink itself had an MRP of BDT 40 printed on it, I was charged BDT 80 for it. This is amounting to a great amount of profit for the restaurants from the hard earned income of the general public and is also the case with most restaurants, hence my question is if there is any legal resort that could prevent these restaurants from making undue profit by exploiting consumers.
Going to restaurants in the urban areas of our country is a form of recreation for many these days and it is very likely that with the advent of all sorts of new restaurants, cafes and eateries consumers are being exploited in one way or the other. This seems to be a common problem these days as most of the general public are not aware of the protection that law provides to the consumers.
Firstly, to begin with, it is important to define the meaning of consumers. The Consumer Protection Act 2009 has provided power to the general public to come forward and to be able to exercise their rights as consumers and to not be exploited.
As per S.40 of Consumers' Rights Protection Act 2009, if any person sells or offers to sell any goods, medicine or service at a price higher than the price fixed under any Act or rules, he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding 1 (one) year, or with fine not exceeding Taka 50 (fifty) thousand, or with both.
Anyone who is a consumer or is likely to be a consumer can complain under S.76(1) of this act in the following procedure. A consumer is anyone who uses or consumes products or services. Under S. 60 of the Act, the complaint must be lodged to the Director General within 30 (thirty) days of the cause arising, in a written form for example by post, cell phone short messaging services, fax, e-mail or any other electronic media against any anti-consumer right practiced under the 2009 Act. The complainant must provide the following information: i) Name; ii) Father's name; ii) Mother's name; iii) Phone number; iv) Fax/ e-mail (if any) mobile phone number; v) Occupation
Along with the written complaint, evidence of the overcharged product needs to be annexed which will be in the form of a money receipt, the empty can, bottle or any remains of the overcharged product.
If a complaint is proved to be valid after investigation or inquiry, the Director General or any officer empowered by him may impose fine upon the person. When the fine is realised, 25% of it will be paid to the complainant. However, if the complainant is an officer or an employee of the Directorate, he/she shall not be entitled to receive such 25% realised fine.
There are a number of addresses provided on the website of DNCRP as the avenue to complain:
Dhaka: Director General, Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, 1 Karwan Bazar (TCB Bhaban-8th Floor), Dhaka.
National Consumer Complaint Center, 1 Karwan Bazar (TCB Bhaban-9th Floor), Phone: 01777753668, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chittagong: Deputy Director, Chittagong Divisional Office, Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, TCB Bhaban, Bandartila, Chittagong.
Rajshahi: Deputy Director, Rajshahi Divisional Office, Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, Srirampur, Rajshahi.
Khulna: Deputy Director, Khulna Divisional Office, Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, TCB Bhaban, Shivbari More, Khulna.
Barishal: Deputy Director, Khulna Divisional Office, Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, Mohila Club Bhaban, Barishal.
Sylhet: Deputy Director, Sylhet Divisional Office, Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, Divisional Commissioner's Office, Sylhet.
Rangpur: Deputy Director, Rangpur Divisional Office, Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, New Engineer Para, Rangpur.
I hope the provided information shall be able to aid you in finding a solution to your problem.
FOR DETAILED QUERY CONTACT: OMAR@LEGALCOUNSELBD.COM.