Hindustan Coca- Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. says-Its not my baby

Hindustan Coca- Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. says-Its not my baby

Here is a case where testing laboratory has pin pointed number of differences in the packed bottle brought before the consumer court having foreign element i.e. insects floating in the bottle with the bottle of same drink purchased from the market as sample for  matching.

Facts of the case

Purushottam Gour purchased a fanta bottle from INDORE on 3.5.2006.when reached home, some insects were found floating in the bottle, hence a complaint before the consumer forum was filed

The case was contested by coca cola company with a plea that

  • The seller is not their authorized dealer.
  • That the bottle is actually not manufactured by them
  • The product is spurious.
  • That their bottling plant is of latest technology with high standard of hygiene
  • Those bottles are sold after conducting a number of tests.

A matter had come before the National Commission in revision against the order passed by Madhye Pradesh State Commission between Hindustan coca- cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. And Purushottam Gour &Others which was finally decided by the Honorable National Commission on 21.3.2014.in favour of complainant.

Relevant question

  1. Who is selling the duplicate product in the market with their name and brand
  2. There is hardly any case where company has taken the initiative to investigate the matter to find out who is bringing bad name to their reputation
  3. Its further strange to note that company ultimately either settles the case outside the court with the complainant or pays the damages whatever are levied upon them

Observations by National Commission;

  • Though crimp cap was found intact but it could not be said bottle had been opened and re-packed with the new cap.
  • The above observations could establish the fact that two bottles from the same plant are packed differently.

Defense attitude –

  1. Company simply extended the above argument in defense and never bothered to go into details or investigation about the spurious product floated in the market in their name but not known to them
  2. It was the duty of the defending party to prove that the said bottle with so many changes does not belong to them .,did nothing to do that
  3. At first instance ,coca cola company did not provide their product to laboratory
  4. They did not raise any objection after reading the report .they did not even answered the queries posed by the laboratory in charge.
  5. Top of everything they made no inquiry about the sale of bottle in their name
  6. They even did not appoint their own expert to examine the bottle in dispute.
  7.  Since onus was on the defending party to disprove the allegations leveled by the complainant which was not done ,
  8. National Commission held coca cola responsible and with the result dismissed their revision petition.

Serious questions –

  • Matter is before Supreme Court and time and again adjournments asked
  • Supreme court on 4th Feb directed advocates for not asking for adjournments any more
  • Facts will not change and further defense will not be beyond what has been said

Suggesting Class Action against such companies why?

New Provisions in the Act 2019 provied new provision of establishing  Central Consumer Protection Authority  to eradicate Unfair Trade Practices in the market

  • There is a serious question now before us in the interest of public at large .if such reputed companies intentionally or unintentionally do not help to catch the culprits, such hazardous products will continue selling in the marketing causing damage to the health of consumers. Who shall be then held responsible for this act
  • .Marley paying damages does not stop the practice unless serious investigation is made on the issue.
  • Further, what exactly is the status of authorized dealer? does this mean ,products are sold only to listed authorized dealers and to  none others .Is there any system of sub trading by the authorized dealers in the open market .How will the consumer know the right seller when every shop is selling the product in the market .
  • There should be strict stringent action against the company who does not care to help in removing such spurious product from the market sold in their name. In other words they are to be put under penal liability under Cr pc code as if crime is being committed by them. 

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