Citizens' Issues
Compare, but confirm if dealer intends to honour price!

JJ Mehta & Sons, a popular mobile store, in Mumbai's Dadar area, makes customer run around over their price for a Sony mobile listed on a marketing website

On Christmas day, we found that a Sony S312 mobile phone was listed at Rs3,499 from JJ Mehta & Sons on So, we visited JJ Mehta at Nakshatra Mall in Dadar, the same evening, to buy the phone. But the sales manager at the mobile store expressed surprise at the price we told him we had read on the website. He asked us to get a printout of the price listing. And when we got back with the printout of the webpage that we had saved on a pen drive, he clicked to the website and showed us the price at Rs4,499. It was then that we realised that we were sent away so they could buy time to escalate the price. But it felt as if we had manipulated the price on the printout to steal a good deal.

We called compareindia and told them about what had happened. They were co-operative and apologised about the matter, saying they would get in touch with the store to seek and official explanation. They also said that this was the first complaint with regard to JJ Mehta & Sons and that only in rare cases do they delist the dealer from the website. We haven't heard from them since.

We also emailed a complaint to JJ Mehta & Sons and received a reply expressing regret for the incident. "We regret for the confusion, please be assured there was a error in the pricing putup on their site. We try our level best to maitain prices but sometime we also do mistake ... you pointed out our mistake and we rectified the same. If you have any more queries do get back to us," was the verbatim reply written by Kartik Mehta.

It was a bizarre experience on how dealers can put you through inconvenience of making rounds instead of telling upfront they had incorrect price or cannot honour the price. It also raises questions about the authenticity of prices on the compareindia website, where price is of sole importance.

According to compareindia, a customer must carry the printout of the webpage listing the product and price. But don't rush to the store having the cheapest price because they may not honour the price on the printout. Besides, it is not a legal document. The price on the website could well be just to entice the customer to come to the store. Call and confirm if the dealer really intends to honour the price they have listed on the website and whether the product is available.

Unlike websites like ebay, compareindia is not oriented to complete the sale. It can best be used as a guide to prices and get a feel of the product features. Don't even rely on product features blindly. We found that Sony W205 mobile is described as having the 'Wi fi' feature, but unfortunately it's not true. That would have made it the cheapest 'Wi fi' mobile at Rs3,286, available in the market, beating even Micromax and Spice phones that have the Wi fi option!

Compareindia website specifies that "Best Prices mentioned have been provided by the dealer. Kindly confirm the Best Price and availability of stock with the dealer before visiting the store. Compareindia is not responsible for wrong or incorrect Best Prices published by the dealer and/or unavailability of the stock."

Learning from our experience, we called Hello Zone Telecom, also at Dadar, the same day. We told them the price they had quoted on compareindia for the Sony Spiro mobile which was Rs4,600. The dealer agreed to honour the price. Other stores in Dadar quoted Rs4,850 to Rs5,000. When we got to the store we asked about the price and were told that it was Rs5,000. When we referred to the phone conversation about the compareindia price, the dealer promptly agreed to the price without any argument and closed the deal.


Environment ministry team to visit Lavasa site

New Delhi: After hearing Lavasa Corporation last week, the environment ministry today decided to send a technical team soon to the site of the township near Pune, whose construction is held up for want of environmental clearance, reports PTI.

The ministry will also submit its reply in the Bombay High Court on 10th January in connection with a petition filed by Lavasa challenging the stay on construction ordered by the ministry.

“A technical team of the ministry will visit Lavasa soon, environment minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters here.

The team is expected to make an on-the-spot assessment of the controversial Rs3,000 crore hill project and give a report to the minister.

The ministry had on 25th November issued an order, directing stoppage of work at the site. Lavasa had approached the Bombay High Court to challenge the ministry's directive.

However, on 14th December, the ministry refused to lift its “stop-work” order, citing “lack of clarity” on the details submitted by the Lavasa Corporation and “large-scale environmental degradation” in the region.

The ministry had said a final decision in the case will be taken by the month-end after hearing the company again.

“...Ministry is of the considered opinion that the directions issued under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to Lavasa Corporation Ltd on 25th November to stop project activities going on at the site should continue till the final analysis is undertaken...,” the ministry order said.

The ministry had last week heard Lavasa Corporation and asked it to submit data in a fresh format before the matter could be decided.

Along with Lavasa, representatives of Medha Patkar’s National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) and local villagers also presented their views before the ministry over the project.

On the environment ministry’s stay on Lavasa construction being challenged in court, Mr Ramesh said a reply will be submitted in the Bombay High Court on 10th January.

Lavasa has alleged in the high court that the show-cause notice issued on 25th November, objecting to further developments at the site, was issued “in haste and without following the principles of natural justice”.

Lavasa’s petition alleged that Mr Ramesh was “biased and had prejudged the matter by issuing the notice without giving a hearing to the company”.


Environment ministry refuses to review clearance to Jaitapur nuclear plant

New Delhi: Unfazed by growing opposition to Jaitapur nuclear power plant, environment minister Jairam Ramesh today refused to review the conditional environmental clearance given to it and asked “interest groups” not to use environment as a shield to fire at governments, reports PTI.

“As far as environment clearance is concerned, we have done all that is required and all different interest groups should not use environment as a shield behind which they start firing their guns at government,” Mr Ramesh told reporters.

He was responding when asked whether the environment ministry would have a rethink over the clearance given to the power plant being built by France in Maharashtra in view of demands in this regard.

Noting that “many people have different agenda” in Jaitapur, Mr Ramesh asked those opposing the environmental clearance not to “make mockery” of the process.

“On 28th November, the environment clearance for Jaitapur nuclear power project was accorded. The 35 conditions associated with the clearance have also been made public,” he said.

“There are political parties which have never agreed with the fact that our prime minister concluded the most successful civil nuclear agreement, of which Jaitapur is the first one,” the minister said attacking the opponents of the project.

Acknowledging that “there are some problems” associated with land acquisition, Mr Ramesh said these would be looked into by Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan “more sensitively”. “We have to take local communities along with us,” he said.

His comments came in the backdrop of senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat demanding a re-look into the conditional environmental clearance given to the nuclear plant, noting that it has created a “great deal of disquiet” among locals as well as others across the country.

“There are issues of safety. More importantly there are issues of environment and a conditional clearance given by the environment ministry is not enough. Minister Jairam Ramesh is on a mission mode and is trying to implement policies in that mode.

“Therefore, I was quite surprised, indeed shocked and I found that he has even given conditional clearance of the plant. It definitely calls for a re-look,” Mr Sinha has said

The Jaitapur nuclear power complex is located in the ecologically sensitive coastal Maharashtra region which includes Raigad, Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri districts.


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