Traders charging GST above MRP

Traders charging GST above MRP

When S Radha, a resident of Adyar, purchased household items recently from a shop near her house, she found that the shop owner had charged much more than the MRP for most items. When she asked the shop owner, the reply was that owing to GST, the price had gone up and that GST was charged over and above the MRP.

Radha did not argue with the shop owner despite knowing that the MRP should be inclusive of the GST. Radha is not the lone sufferer. The Chennai-based GST commissionerate has received many such complaints from consumers since July 1, when GST was rolled out.

"Soon after we get a complaint, we visit the shop and check their accounts. Each product must have the MRP and also a sticker about the GST rate. As of now, we are not punishing the shop owners, but are advising them and warning them. If they continue to charge more than the MRP, we will take action against such shop owners under the GST Act," GST additional commissioner Rajiv Kumar told TOI on the sidelines of a seminar on GST. The seminar was jointly organised by Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group and Consumers' Association of India.

The GST commissionerate has a GST helpline 28331009 and very soon there would be a Whatsapp number to which consumers can send their complaints, said Kumar. He said the MRP always included the tax and if traders were charging more than the MRP they would be booked under the anti-profiteering clauses in the GST Act. "Consumers are facing frequent problems with restaurants. Many restaurants are charging 18% GST even if only a small portion of the dining space is air-conditioned.The GST rate for non-AC restaurants is 12%. Many hotels in the city have removed their ACs to reduce the tax burden on their customers," said S Saroja of Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group. She also said in some shops bills do not mention the GST rate, but their computers would have an entry in the name of GST. "Some shop owners said they maintain GST entry in their computers to escape from being penalized by GST department," said Saroja.

Meanwhile, a survey done by the students of a city women's college showed that 89% of the consumers felt that after the introduction of GST, prices of several products and services had gone up. The survey was done in most of the areas in north, south and west Chennai and across all sections of society."Nearly 80% of the consumers who answered the questionnaire said they did not know who to complain if the trader charges more in the form of GST," said the survey.

Source :  The Times of India


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