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Bubble burst: firm to pay up for denying prize

Upholding an order of the Ludhiana district forum,the UT State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed Perfetti India to pay Rs 2 lakh...

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh |
January 8, 2009 2:16:26 am

Upholding an order of the Ludhiana district forum,the UT State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed Perfetti India to pay Rs 2 lakh as compensation for denying the “grand prize” — a trip for two to the US — as promised on the wrapper of a Big Babol bubblegum to the complainant. The forum also ordered the firm to pay Rs 1 lakh as penal costs for misleading consumers.

The complainant,Jeevan Kumar,stated he had purchased a pack of bubblegum from Jasbir Singh,owner of a grocery shop in Ludhiana. On opening the wrapper,Kumar found a prize coupon bearing the digits 6,2,2 and 1 (the sum of which is 11) and,as per the scheme,was entitled to the first prize. The company was duly informed vide a fax message on February 12,2001.

But Perfetti India stated that the wrapper,an image of which had been printed on the fax message,had been tampered with.

Kumar then filed a complaint with the Ludhiana district forum. Jasbir Singh also appeared as a witness in the case stating that Kumar had opened the said wrapper in his presence and the figures had totalled to 11.

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Harish Arora,company secretary of Perfetti India,raised objections stating that the wrapper had been tampered with. “Also,the scheme was valid for just eight weeks wherein eight different number combinations totalling 11 were issued. Each combination was valid for one week and the prize-winning wrapper was to be faxed within two weeks of the date of declaration. Thus,all prize-winning wrappers would be valid only for a particular week,which had been printed on the wrapper before the four digits,” added Arora.

In 2002,the Ludhiana district consumer forum ruled in favour of the complainant. Later,Perfetti India filed an appeal to overturn the judgment and the case was transferred to UT.

Announcing the verdict,K C Gupta,president of the UT State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission,said: “The appellant has not produced any specimen of the genuine wrapper or given an explanation as to how the wrapper was tampered with. Also,there is no record of any other consumer being awarded the prize that week.”

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