A viral video posted on social media about the cost of two bananas has resulted in a ritzy hotel being slapped with a hefty fine, after they charged a guest almost $10 for two pieces of the fruit.
Indian actor Rahul Bose called out the JW Marriott in Chandigarh after he received a bill for $9.70 (Indian Rupees 442.50), including GST, for two bananas.
After receiving the charges for the "fruit platter", Mr Bose took to Twitter to vent his frustration over the expensive snack. But his post has landed the hotel in hot water, after the receipt showed the hotel were illegally charging patrons GST for a product that was exempt from tax in India.
"You have to see this to believe it. Who said fruit wasn't harmful to your existence? Ask the wonderful folks at @JWMarriottChd," his caption alongside the video read.
"So I am shooting in Chandigarh and I am staying at this beautiful suite at JW Marriott where they give you all these elegant freebies like these chocolate cookies," he said in the video which has been viewed more than 678,000 times.
"God knows how much these beautiful flowers must have cost, but get this, I was in the gym and I asked for two bananas and check the bill out.
Basically, Bose's viral rant about the bananas exposed the hotel for charging tax on bananas which come under the category of fresh fruits that are a tax free item and are not taxable as per law.
As a consequence, a penalty of $547 (Rs 25,000) was imposed on the hotel for the $1.50 (Rs 67.5) tax for two bananas.
Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner Rajeev Chaudhary said they launched an investigation into the bananas after being notified about the video.
"ETOs have seized all relevant records," he told Chandigarh Newsline.
"The question here is that fresh fruits are tax-free items, whatever the case may be, and 'fruit platter' is a taxable item. But the actor has been given fresh fruits and tax has been charged on it so we are investigating all angles.
"We are even probing whether relevant tax is being deposited regularly with the excise and taxation department or not.
"The hotel authorities could not give a satisfactory reply to our notice. They did come for a personal hearing and sought more time which we did not allow. Citizens should be alert and can complain to us wherever they find that they are being charged illegally."