Close to 90 per cent of the city hotels and restaurant, including the top establishments, charge excess for water bottles, said legal metrology authorities. Minerva in Jubilee Hills was fined Rs 4,000 for charging Rs 35 per bottle instead of Rs 20; the restaurant was booked under Section 18 (2) of the Package Commodity Act-Legal Metrology.
Similarly, notices were issued to Paradise and Chutneys restaurants for overpricing water bottles. While establishments continue to flout rules, the department is unable to raid most hotels and restaurants in the city due to lack of manpower. Any packaged item must have all details, from price, manufactured and expiry date to net quantity as per the Legal Metrology Act, 2007.
S. Gopal Reddy, controller, Legal Metrology, said, “On my first visit to Minerva, Jubilee Hills, I was charged Rs 35 for a water bottle instead of Rs 20; however, no action was taken. Later, I had asked my officers to check again and the same was repeated by the management. A fine of Rs 4,000 was imposed. If consumers come across such violations, they should always keep the purchased material and receipt to lodge a complaint. Usually, most costumers never bother to check the prices; most hotels charge more on water bottles, a minimum of Rs 5 extra.”
Following complaints, the Legal Metrology department has issued notices to Paradise and Chutneys restaurants for charging extra for water bottles. As per the Act, all retailers of package commodities covered under the Value Added Tax (VAT) should keep electronic weighing machines for cross checking of weight of packages; if found to be flouting norms, they will be booked under Section 18 (2) of the Legal Metrology Act. Consumers should always check the printed price on bottles.
Meanwhile, M.S, Nagaraju, president, TS Hotel Association, said, “If a bottle’s MRP is Rs 20, hotels get it for Rs 16 when purchased on bulk. Once the bottle is opened and served in glasses, the hotels can charge as per their discretion, there is no restriction. The extra amount charged goes in preserving the bottle, ambience and the services as well. Costumers demand normal or chilled and sometimes even ice cold water; we have to store the bottles as per costumers’ requirements.”