What we Achieved?
Rs. 1,20,000 / month is saved from going to wrong Pockets with a bunch of 8 committed citizens, a 2 day plan and 2 hour activity.
Let’s say a Biscuit Packet priced Rs. 15 is overpriced and sold at Rs. 17.
That is Rs. 2 per Packet.
For a minimum sales of 100 Packets in a shop, it is Rs. 200 per Shop.
For a minimum of 20 Shops in CMBT, it is Rs. 4000 per day.
For 30 days, it is Rs. 1,20,000 per month.
is saved from going to the pockets of Greedy Shop Keepers, Corrupt bureaucrats and possibly dishonest low level Politicians (who get a % of share from the Shop Keepers)
and this is just a low level Projection, with minimal numbers !
“Overpricing” – One of the day to day problem that is affecting lower, middle class consumers. Its been blatantly done across the city without any shame. We believe the major reason for this issue is the same people. Instead of raising questions and fight for their money, they seems to have lost hope and pay whatever money (above MRP) is demanded by the Shopkeeper. But this trend is no good for anyone.
So we planned for a Activity in an attempt to resolve this. The Idea is this:
The plan is to purchase products from various shops by paying the price requested by the shop vendor, even if its above MRP. The key idea here is to document the whole process, by video capturing the conversation between our volunteer and the shop vendor.
All volunteers were invited through our Google Groups. Venue is fixed at Koyambedu Bus Terminus and Date was fixed at February 2nd (Sunday).
Assembly at CMBT Bus Terminus
8 of us gathered there and split ourselves into 3 groups. The briefing and discussion was done as follows:
One from each group will be buying the product, demanding the reason for overpricing and asking for the bill; While the other will be video taping the whole dialogue with the Mobile Camera.
We started the operation around 11 AM and returned back by 12.30 PM. Though we approached many shops and many products, due to technical / practical difficulties, we couldn’t video tape all the purchases. But we gathered 8 videos in total with good quality.
The videos covered purchase of 10 products, which includes Cool Drink (bottles / tins), Biscuits, Chocolates. 7 of the 10 products were sold above MRP and none of the shop vendors gave us the Bill or any kind of receipt. When asked, their reply was like, no one here in CMBT will give you bill.
We thank all our volunteers who came for the show with full motivation and inspiration and made things progress.
We prepared a formal complaint, documenting the whole process, listing the specific products. The complaint was then sent to Legal Metrology Department, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Department, Commercial Taxes Department and Corporation of Chennai on February 14nd, 2014.
Thanks to Christin Mathew Philip for the story on this operation in Times of India on February 20th.
Now, we are waiting for the authorities to take action. If not (which seems to be the realistic case), we shall file a RTI after 2 months, enquiring on the status of the complaint.
By May 16, 2014, we received response from Labor Inspector that action has been taken. It seems, they initiated a round of Inspection in CMBT and took action against the Shop Vendors who were found guilty during their Inspection.
Since we didn’t get any concrete information and we are yet to hear from other departments, we filed 4 RTIs to enquire on the status of the complaints by June end, followed it up with First Appeal on August, 2014.
Our First Appeals was responded with irrelevant information from the authorities and now we are proceeding with 2nd Appeal to Tamil Nadu Information Commission. Let’s see how our Big Brothers @ Information Commission responds 🙂
Will Keep Posted !
Being a committed citizen, If you would like to replicate this Operation in any area, to keep check on MRP Overpricing, and need any assistance, please drop us a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be more than happy to get involved and share our expertise 🙂 (y)