Hey folks!

What if we tell you that expired products can be worth a few thousand bucks?

Okay. Here’s a situation for you. Let’s test how well you know your consumer rights.

You go to a store to buy a carton of milk. You get home, pour it into your mug and realise that it’s gone bad. That’s when you check the ‘use by’ date and find out that you actually picked up an expired product. You go back and narrate this to the shopkeeper. But he tells you that you picked the carton yourself and that he can’t help you with a refund or replacement now.

What would you do?

Well, most of us might buy this argument and decide not to fight it further. Because it’s only a matter of a few tens of rupees. Besides, it’ll probably teach you to be more careful before buying things off the shelf next time.

But a 4-year-old customer from Chandigarh chose not to go that route. Okay, it wasn’t her who filed a complaint but her father did after he found that a retailer had sold her 2 packets of Britannia biscuits in 2017 that were well past their expiry dates. Of course, he did so only after the vendor refused to offer a solution to the expired biscuits problem.

And guess what? Despite the vendor’s defence that it wasn’t very believable that a 4-year-old would come by herself to buy something from a store that’s far from where she lives, the Consumer Commission held them guilty. The fact the vendor sold an expired product was enough for the Commission to slap a fine on both the biscuit maker and the vendor.

While Britannia’s Rudrapur arm has been asked to pay a ₹20,000 fine to the Commission, the vendor also has to now refund the cost of the biscuits plus interest to the customer. Along with the entire cost of the litigation and ₹10,000 for all the troubles they’ve been through.

We know that lengthy dispute resolution times (6 years in this case) can be quite discouraging for anyone to fight for something as puny as a small pack of biscuits. But that doesn’t mean you should let vendors con you with unfair trade practices, no?

Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵

Persephone by Gaia Meera

Thanks for the recommendation, Puneet Garg.

Ready to dive in?

A couple of things caught our eye this week 👀

There’s more to personal care than makeup

India has a nearly $17 billion Beauty and Personal Care (BPC) market as per a report commissioned by the global cosmetics giant Estée Lauder.

And over the next 5 years, this market could grow steadily at 11%. Thanks to Cosmetics and Perfumes which seem to be every customer’s favourite things to buy. And that’s obviously because beauty influencers are doing their job right and nudging people into trying out new-age brands. And the growth of e-commerce too.

But here’s the underpenetrated bit we want to talk about. The report highlights how sun care and men’s grooming seem to take up only 5% of the whole BPC market.

Although the men’s grooming bit isn’t astonishing, sun care is. For a tropical country like India, sunscreen is something people should be reaching for. But the reason they aren’t doing that is because of a lack of awareness.

Yup! Apparently, 65% of consumers don’t use sunscreen simply because they don’t understand what SPF is or what it does and which SPF level suits them best. Oh, and if you didn’t know, SPF is Sun Protection Factor. Higher the value, the better is the measure of protection that a sunscreen provides from ultraviolet rays.

Add to that insufficient usage instructions on pack labels and users are left confused as to how much they really need to apply. Not to forget that sunscreen isn’t that cheap either.

But here’s the thing. If brands can actually capitalise on the growth of influencers and the rising temperatures, spreading SPF and sunscreen awareness can be a big market opportunity.

Men’s grooming on the other hand is something India needs to figure out beyond just shaving kits. Because you see, acne, ageing and other skin issues aren’t just a women's thing. Men need skin care too and their dermatological needs are way different. So how about using some influencer marketing to get men off the stigma and stereotypes, so the BPC market can grow leaps and bounds the unexpected way?

***

Why are airfares so high?

If you’ve tried booking flights in the past couple of weeks, you’ve probably seen the insane ticket prices. And if it’s a flight from Mumbai, Delhi or Bengaluru, chances are that you’re witnessing a 40%-80% surge in pricing.

So, what’s up with these skyrocketing airfares?

Well, three things.

Firstly, it’s summer. That’s when people usually fly to cooler destinations like Leh or Srinagar. One unusual exception is Goa, where people seem to be flocking to despite the sweltering heat. In fact, travellers are even willing to pay a 17% premium to stay in the best properties in Goa. Chilling by the beach with a soothing drink and holidaying remains a personal summer favourite for many. So that’s obviously pushing up the demand. Besides, if people are willing to pay more for hotels, they’d be willing to do the same for flights too no?

Secondly, Go First. See, the news of its bankruptcy obviously left passengers in tatters. They had to quickly look for alternative flight options. Even after that, all the 9 lakh passengers Go First last carried (as of March) had to shift to other airlines. That put increased pressure on folks like Indigo and Spice Jet. So they had to turn up the fares.

Thirdly, cost. Airlines have to pay their lessors for renting out the fights they mostly don’t own. And after Go First went bust, its lessors have been asked to wait for at least 6 months to a year to repossess their planes and other assets. That has increased fears amongst aircraft lessors in general while also increasing India’s aviation risk profile. Naturally, lessors will be itching to increase their lease rentals at such a time.

So yeah, all of these factors have snowballed into an airfare surge that refuses to slow down. But the upside is that the Aviation Ministry seems to have intervened, asking airlines to be socially responsible while considering fare hikes. Although it’s tough to imagine that they’ll feel charitable given the demand and supply equation right now.

Infographic 📊

Money tips 💰

Savings accounts are stupid (kind of)

If you’ve been tucking away your small savings in a bank account thinking that it’s growing, you’re probably in for a surprise. Savings accounts eat up your money rather than actually paying you any interest. Here’s how.

You sure know that the value of your money reduces with time. Courtesy inflation. Between 1960 and 2021 the average inflation rate in India was about 7.5%. That means that if you pay ₹100 for something today, you’d have to pay ₹107.5 for it a year later.

Now let’s assume that inflation is going to average lower in the next few years — say around 5%. But if you you quickly check how much your bank is paying you for the savings in your regular savings account, you’ll probably realise that you’re getting no more than 3.5-4%.

That means, you’re actually losing money to inflation.

So what can you do instead?

Well, there are a couple of options.

Firstly, there are liquid mutual funds that could fetch you a higher rate of return than your savings account. Now we won’t get into how these funds actually work, but we recommend you check out this chapter on debt funds on Zerodha* Varsity.

Another way to do this is by choosing a sweep-in deposit facility. Most banks also have this option where they automatically convert excess funds over a threshold (you can choose) into an FD. And whenever your bank account falls short of funds this money flows back into your account. That way all of your excess money earns a higher interest rate, similar to an FD. And you won’t have to worry about not having emergency money either.

Mind you, this is only for the money you may need to access easily. Obviously FDs or liquid funds aren’t rewarding investment options. You’ll have to see an investment advisor for that.

So savings account don't make a lot of sense if you are setting aside large sums of money. However you are setting aside some money to account for your day to day needs, then it totally makes sense. Just don't overdo it.

*Zerodha, through its fund Rainmatter, is an investor in Finshots

Readers Recommend 🗒️

Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson

If you haven’t read this book before, it’s probably time to pick it up. It's about four characters ― two mice and two little people who live in a maze and search for cheese to survive. The cheese represents the things we want in life ― a good job, a loving relationship or wealth. The book simply highlights the importance of adapting to change and being open to new opportunities.

You can thank our reader Dipankar Baruah for this classic recommendation.

Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩

It’s time to announce the winner of our previous Weekly Quiz. And the winner is… 🥁

Aashna Basotia! Congratulations. Keep an eye on your inbox and we’ll get in touch with you soon to send over your Finshots merch.

And for the rest of you, here’s your next chance to grab the winner’s crown. Click on this 👉🏽 link, answer all the questions correctly and tune in next week to check if you got lucky.

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