Whirlpool convicted & imposed a penalty of Rs 4.07 lakh by NAA for denying customers the benefit of the GST rate reduction.

Whirlpool convicted in accordance with Rs. 4,07,451/- of profiteering by the National Anti Profiteering Authority on its fridges

NAA discovered the long-term consumer corporation Whirlpool of India convicted of not having to pass on a GST rate reduction advantage of more than Rs 4.07 lakh to its refrigerator purchasers. Kerala State Screening Committee Anti-Profiteering (NAA) vs. Whirlpool India Ltd.

The concise details of the matter are that the petitioner had made reference a case against Whirlpool to the Standing Committee on Anti-Profit-making alleging profiteering on the supply of fridge Whirlpool (HSN code 84182100), by not passing on the benefit of reducing tax rate w.e f. 1 July 2017 Pursuant to Section 171 of the CGST Act , 2017, by way of a substantial price decrease.

Few justifications by the defendant and the authority to reply

The plaintiff contended that the rise in prices could not be created because of other commercial factors, which had the impact of placing unlawful restraint on his fundamental right and was consequently in accordance with Article 19(1)(g) of the Indian Constitution.

In this relation, it would also be important to state that section 171(1) requires only the participant to pass on the advantage of the reduction in taxes to the purchasers and does not require him to set his prices in accordance with any authority direction. The above profit was provided by the government to ordinary buyers by sacrificing their valuable tax revenue which the respondent can not be permitted to misappropriate and enrich themselves at the detriment of unorganized, voiceless, and vulnerable common buyers. The respondent is free to exercise his right to trade and set prices, but under the pretext that it infringes his right to trade, he can not deny the above benefit.

The defendant also argued that the product’s manufacturing cost (BOM) had experienced a rise since August 2016 due to a rise in the cost of raw materials which had been computered to come at the MAP at the end of each and every month.

In this relation, it would also be necessary to note that on the very date from which the tax rate was reduced, there was no reason for the respondent to increase its basic price. There is also no justification for ascertaining why the respondent had not raised its price every month during the period from August 2016 to June 2017 when he computed the MAP every month.

The representative also claimed that there had been an increase in the total freight cost in 2017 compared to Rs. 29 per unit in 2016, which was expected to be added to the price.

As mentioned above, the defendant had no reason to raise its price on the occasion of the reduction in taxes, and thus the respondent’s argument is frivolous and not bonafide, which was made with an ulterior purpose for the betterment of the tax cut.

Held by Authority: on the grounds of the details of the matter, the amount profited by Whirlpool shall be determined as Rs. 4,07,451/-. The Respondent is instructed to lower the price with the above-mentioned product and also to deposit the benefited amount together with interest at 18 percent. A notice of cause shall be issued to him to illustrate why the punishment under the GST Act should not be enforced on him.

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