By all means, go to consumer fo­rum for mo­bile-ser­vice dis­putes

Consumer Voice - - In The News -

The UT State Com­mis­sion, headed by Jus­tice Jas­bir Singh, has held that mo­bile ser­vice/billing dis­putes are main­tain­able be­fore the consumer courts. While dis­miss­ing an ap­peal by Video­con Tele­com Ltd, the Com­mis­sion has di­rected it to pay Rs 25,000 as com­pen­sa­tion and costs for wrong­ful dis­con­nec­tion of ser­vice on the com­plainant’s mo­bile phone.

So­har Singh, a res­i­dent of Mo­hali, had bought a post-paid mo­bile con­nec­tion of Idea Cel­lu­lar Net­work and got the same ported to the net­work of Video­con. The com­plainant had cleared all his dues on 19 Au­gust 2014. On 23 Novem­ber 2014, Video­con barred calls on his mo­bile phone num­ber on the grounds that he owed some amount to Idea. Singh paid Rs 214 to the net­work but Video­con still did not ac­ti­vate the con­nec­tion.

Singh ap­proached the district consumer fo­rum for re­lief. It found the com­pany at fault and or­dered com­pen­sa­tion. Video­con filed an ap­peal in the consumer com­mis­sion against the fo­rum or­der, claim­ing that the lat­ter had no ju­ris­dic­tion to en­ter­tain and de­cide such com­plaints.

Cit­ing the In­dian Telegraph Act, the com­pany coun­sel ar­gued, “Since the district fo­rum was barred to en­ter­tain and de­cide any dis­pute aris­ing out of tele­phone bills un­der the Act, it was wrong in ac­cept­ing the com­plaint filed by Singh.” The com­mis­sion, how­ever, cited a cir­cu­lar is­sued by the min­istry of consumer af­fairs that made it clear that “district fo­rums are com­pe­tent to deal with dis­putes be­tween in­di­vid­ual tele­com con­sumers and tele­com ser­vice providers.”

The consumer com­mis­sion or­dered that “consumer fo­ras are com­pe­tent to deal with dis­putes aris­ing be­tween con­sumers and tele­com ser­vice providers. The ob­jec­tion taken by the cel­lu­lar com­pany that fo­rum has no ju­ris­dic­tion, be­ing de­void of merit, must fail, and the same stands re­jected. It is, there­fore, held the district fo­rum had ju­ris­dic­tion to en­ter­tain and de­cide the com­plaint.”

Builder asked to shell out Rs 60,000 for giv­ing less shop area

Thane District Consumer Re­dres­sal Fo­rum (TDCRF) has di­rected a builder to pay Rs 60,000 com­pen­sa­tion to a com­plainant for al­lot­ting him a shop of a lesser area than what was agreed upon.

Com­plainant Har­shal Keshri­nath Patil had ap­proached TDCRF in De­cem­ber 2009, say­ing that he had pur­chased from Patil Builders and Devel­op­ers a shop in a build­ing at Tulij in Va­sai area. He said that he paid Rs 337,500 and en­tered into an agree­ment for the same in 2007. He also said that later he paid Rs 912,500, tak­ing the to­tal pay­ment made to the builder to Rs 1,250,000.

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing the shop, Patil got the premises in­spected by an ar­chi­tect in Novem­ber 2009, and it was found that the shop area was only 138.36 sq feet (built-up area), in­stead of the agreed 224.96 sq ft (less by 87 sq ft).

The builder con­tested the claim on the grounds that the com­plaint was time-barred, as the com­plainant had taken pos­ses­sion of the shop in 2007. More­over, it was a civil com­plaint and needed to be tried by court, the firm pleaded.

How­ever, TDCRF pres­i­dent Sneha S Mha­tre and mem­bers Mad­huri S Vish­warupe and ND Kadam dis­missed the builder’s sub­mis­sions and said that the com­plaint was filed within the stip­u­lated time and they had the au­thor­ity to en­ter­tain it. The fo­rum also ob­served that the builder had not hon­oured the com­mit­ment made in the agree­ment be­tween him and the buyer. The fo­rum, how­ever, did not agree with the com­plainant’s sub­mis­sion that he had paid an ad­di­tional sum of Rs 912,500 to the builder as he could not pro­duce any proof for it.

The fo­rum ruled that by giv­ing lesser area of shop than that agreed in the sale doc­u­ment, the builder had in­dulged in un­fair busi­ness prac­tices. It di­rected the con­struc­tion firm to pay Rs 50,000 as com­pen­sa­tion and Rs 10,000 to­wards le­gal ex­penses to the com­plainant by De­cem­ber 2015.

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