A huge quantity of suspected fake goods, including medical equipment, cosmetics, soaps, detergents and packaged food, were seized from parts of north and central Calcutta following raids by officers of the consumer affairs department during the past two days.
Notices have been served on the traders concerned for violating the Consumer Act, and a minimum cash penalty of Rs 1,000 will be charged from each of them.
The raids followed the state government’s decision to conduct regular checks on different goods to prevent consumers from being cheated by traders. A team of officials from the consumer affairs department conducted raids on a number of shops at C. R. Avenue, New Market and the Baguiati area and seized the goods.
The booty include body-weighing and blood pressure-measuring machines, thermometers, stethoscopes, soaps of foreign brands, cosmetics and perfumes of reputed manufacturers and packaged dry food like potato chips and chanachur.
According to officials who conducted the raids, the seized goods had faulty packages and the traders concerned failed to produce valid papers. The packets were not sealed and did not mention the names and addresses of the manufacturing companies, the month and year of manufacture or the date of expiry. Mentioning all this is mandatory according to the Consumer Protection Act.
“We were surprised that the packets containing some important and commonly-used medical equipment did not provide any detailed information about the products. Labels were missing from some blood-pressure machines and thermometers. We also seized some faulty foreign medical equipment. Though it is not our duty to ascertain the quality of any product, we could find from the packages and other evidences that the goods were fake,’’ said the officials.
“We have been receiving complaints from a section of consumers for the past few days that some traders are cheating them by selling fake goods. Raids were conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday. We have decided to continue the raids to prevent puja shoppers from being cheated,’’ said consumer affairs minister Naren De.
A strict vigil will be maintained at medical equipment stores. De urged buyers to check seals and labels. If anything was found wanting they should immediately register a complaint, he said.