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Tasmac salesmen use 'Quarter-only' trick to double extra income

Tipplers also complained that old stock was being sold at new price, which enabled staffers to pocket the extra money

Tasmac salesmen use Quarter-only trick to double extra income

Representative image

CHENNAI: After the State government hiked the liquor price, the maximum retail price (MRP) violation has taken a new twist, with the salesmen at Tasmac shops allegedly using tricks to collect additional money from tipplers.

Recently, the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (Tasmac) increased liquor price between Rs 10 and Rs 80 depending on the quantity and brand. For most of the cheaper, fast-moving brands, the price of 180 ml bottle has gone up by Rs 10, while the hike is Rs 20 for 375 ml bottles.

This apart, the salesmen collect another Rs 10 per bottle, both quarter and half, over and above the MRP. This is where the new trick is being used. Now, the consumer who asks for 355 ml bottle is instead given two 180 ml bottles, which fetches the salesman Rs 20 instead of Rs 10 that he would get for a half bottle.

Consumers allege that the salesmen are deliberately keeping the Rs 375 ml stock low, or are hiding them. “This is happening since the day the liquor prices were increased,” claimed K Nagendran from Anakaputhur. Though it is the depot manager who decides the inventory at each liquor shop according to the indents prepared by salesmen, the latter deliberately prepares indents to stock only 180 ml bottles, alleged many tipplers.

Another complaint that the consumers raise is the price list not being displayed at most liquor shops. With liquor bottles coming with the old MRP printed on them and in the absence of a price list, they do not know what the new price for each brand is. This has led to complaints from many that the sales staff were charging new prices for old stock, and pocketing the extra.

When asked, a senior Tasmac official admitted that many liquor shops failed to display the price list despite repeated instructions. But he said the new price list was available on the Tasmac website. That, however, offers little comfort to many tipplers. “I don’t have a computer or even a smartphone. How do I check the price list on the website,” asked M Kumaraswamy, an auto driver from Pallavaram. The official said once the old stock is sold out, the new stock would have the revised price tag.

Beyond the routine complaint of fleecing by Tasmac staffers, not printing new MRP on a packaged item even after price revision is a violation of the rules. According to an official from the state consumer affairs department, selling old stock at new price can be done only in the case of consumer products that come without packaging.

“Under the Consumer Goods (Mandatory Printing of Cost of Production and Maximum Retail Price) Act, 2006, consumers cannot be charged more than the MRP that is mentioned on the packaging of the product,” he said.

R Sathyanarayana
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