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Consumer Comm raps Coke for unfair trade practice

The National Consumer Commission today rapped beverage giant Coca Cola for a promotional scheme launched by it in 1998 which had resulted in deficiency in service and unfair trade practice.



New Delhi: The National Consumer Commission
today rapped beverage giant Coca Cola for a promotional scheme
launched by it in 1998 which had resulted in deficiency in
service and unfair trade practice.

The apex consumer body said the terms and conditions of
the scheme -- Coca Cola Diwali Karishma, which had run from
September 21 to October 26, 1998, were not specified clearly
causing "utter confusion" among participants.

"Coca Cola was guilty of both deficiency in service and
unfair trade practice...in running the promotion scheme,"
the Commission bench comprising Justice R C Jain and Anupam
Dasgupta said.

"It is clear that Coca Cola Private Limited created
utter confusion about the date of commencement of the scheme
and also failed to clarify the selected cities where it was
run," it said.

"There is absolutely no evidence to show how the
consumers who participated in the scheme between September 21,
1998, to October 2, 1998 and received bottles with liners
containing visuals were informed about the conditions
governing the scheme," the Commission said.

It passed the order on an appeal of the Coca Cola
challenging the Punjab State Consumer Commission`s direction
to the company to give a new Honda City as per its scheme
besides Rs 20,000 as compensation to a complainant.

The scheme, which was launched in 1998 by Coca Cola, said
those who found a cap with a yellow band and a printed liner
on the inside surface will be rewarded with a prize including
a Honda City car in selected cities.

The scheme came under scanner in consumer court after
a man claimed that he was being duped even after fulfilling
all the prescribed conditions under it.

The Commission, however, said the complainant was not
entitled to the car as all the other recipients had submitted
their valid entries before him on "first-come-first serve
basis."

"The complainant`s entry was not entitled to receive any
of the five prizes of Honda City cars on
first-come-first-served basis," it said.

It noted that the terms and conditions of the scheme were
published in some newspapers only on October 3, 1998, while it
was in operation from September 21.

"Given the criterion of first-come first-served, these
were the consumer most likely to win the prizes because their
(otherwise eligible) entries would have reached the designated
post box much before those sending their entries from October
3, 1998," the Commission said.

-PTI

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