Xerox shop owner fined Rs 25K for refusing to return Rs 3 change in Odisha’s Sambalpur

In a significant ruling, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Sambalpur, has imposed a hefty fine of Rs 25,000 on a Xerox shop owner for his refusal to return Rs 3 to a customer.

The court deemed it fit to penalize the shop owner, who will also be charged an additional 9% interest per annum until the amount is repaid to the complainant.

The court order stated, “The accused is directed to refund Rs 3 to the complainant as excess money received for Xerox charges, along with Rs 25,000 as compensation for the mental agony and harassment caused to the complainant. Should the accused fail to comply within 30 days, the amount will accrue an annual interest rate of 9% until it is realized by the complainant.”

According to reports, the complainant, Prafulla Kurar Dash, a journalist residing in the Budharaja area of Sambalpur district, had visited the Xerox shop on 28 April 2023 to obtain a photocopy of a document. Dash had paid the shopkeeper five rupees, expecting three rupees as change, as the regular photocopy rate is Rs 2 per copy. However, the shopkeeper adamantly refused to return the change and resorted to abusive language towards the complainant.

After repeated requests, the shopkeeper reluctantly returned the full five rupees, taunting the complainant by stating that he was “donating the money to a beggar.” Further, the shopkeeper did not provide any receipt or bill, which is a violation of fair trade practices and caused significant mental agony, harassment, and financial loss to the complainant.

The court’s order holds the shopkeeper responsible for compensating the complainant for these grievances. “The accused party failed to issue a receipt or bill, which is an unfair trade practice. Additionally, the shopkeeper is charging an excess amount per photocopy compared to the market rate, demonstrating a deficiency in service and exploitation of the consumer,” stated the court order.

“The incident I experienced is not an isolated case; it is a matter of concern for the rights of all consumers. I felt so humiliated that I decided to file a complaint with the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, and I am grateful to the court for delivering justice,” commented Prafulla Kurar Dash, the complainant.

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