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Coffee chain fined for not ' measuring up' to standards.

THE NEXT time you feel your favourite cup of coffee lacks sufficient punch, just look at the mug to know if you have been served the right amount of the beverage or not.

A consumer court has ordered that shops must indicate clearly the quantity of coffee they serve to customers, following a complaint by a disgruntled coffee lover who didn't like his favourite beverage he had at a leading outlet here.

The New Delhi District Consumer Forum ordered so while imposing a fine of Rs 1 lakh on popular coffee chain Barista in Connaught Place for not disclosing the quantity of coffee served to the customer. Of this, Rs 20,000 will be paid to the complainant and the rest deposited in the consumer welfare fund.

The forum directed the coffee chain to serve coffee to consumers in future in glasses or mugs which is transparent with markings indicating the quantity of the beverage.

" A consumer has the right to know the contents of the actual coffee in liquid form served to him/ her. Since the containers are not transparent, the consumer will not know the quantity served and, in this manner, is cheated with the appearance of the container full of froth," the commission headed by K. K. Chopra said.

The direction was passed on a complaint filed by Vikas Batra, a resident of Nimri Colony, who went to Barista's Connaught Place outlet on January 10, 2005. Batra ordered for Expresso Italiano coffee, one chicken sandwich and one cappuccino coffee.

He was charged Rs 105 but was surprised to see the menu only displayed the price but not the quantity of items. When he asked the manager of the restaurant, he was unable to give a satisfactory answer.

Barista, on its part, contended it had not suppressed any information and served the complainant well for the order placed. " With respect to sandwiches, it stated that sandwiches are always sold as pieces and since the restaurant is not engaged in selling sandwiches as pre- packed commodities, the packaged commodities rules are not applicable thereto," the restaurant chain argued.

The forum accepted the arguments of Barista in case of sandwiches but rejected its argument pertaining to the quantity of coffee served. The forum was of the view the process adopted by the restaurant denies the consumer the right to know the contents, which is contrary to the law and amounts to deficiency in service.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jan 15, 2010
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