CHENNAI: Should you pay just the MRP of Rs 20 for a water bottle or Rs four more on account of GST? Consumer activists here say MRP (Maximum retail price) is always inclusive of all taxes and the seller can never collect more than MRP printed on the product. But they said in many of the eateries and supermarkets customers were asked to pay more citing the newly introduced GST regime.”
MRP on the label reads Rs 20, but I was asked to pay Rs 24 because of GST,” said MMM Abdul Kader from Consumer Bureau of India, speaking to Express on the sidelines of a seminar on GST, organised by Citizen consumer and civic Action Group and Consumers Association of India.
He was speaking about the experience he had in a hotel in the city. He said even supermarkets charge GST over and above the MRP, which he says is a violation under the anti-profiteering clauses of the GST Act. In case of an increase in price, the manufacturer or the packager of products can put up a sticker with the increased MRP until September 30. However, a sticker cannot be used on new stock.
Activists at the seminar explained the laws behind the new tax regime. Manufacturers who have increased the price of a product over its existing MRP, will have to publish an advertisement in at least two newspapers, but if the price has gone down after including GST, no such formality is required, except displaying the new price on the product. In either case, it is required that the old price is visible for the consumer.
“If products are sold at higher prices without following rules, action can be taken against shopkeepers. It includes a penalty of one year in jail or a fine up to Rs one lakh,” said Uma Shanthi, Assistant Commissioner, GST Commissionerate. Consumers, who are charged unfairly over MRP, can lodge a complaint on www.tnlegalmetrology.in