Opt­ing out of a project for de­lay in de­liv­ery?

Con­sumers can seek re­fund of money paid for prop­erty if they don’t get pos­ses­sion on time and if there is no breach of agree­ment

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Su­nil Tyagi

If a builder is un­able to com­plete a hous­ing project within time or is un­able to de­liver the project as agreed in the agree­ment it’s had with the con­sumer; the lat­ter has the right to seek re­fund of money paid for the prop­erty. This can be done pro­vided the in­vestor/ con­sumer has not breached pay­ment terms.

An ap­peal filed be­fore the Na­tional Con­sumer Dis­putes Re­dres­sal Com­mis­sion i n De­cem­ber 2014 deals with one such cir­cum­stance. A re­puted builder had launched a res­i­den­tial township in Jaipur, where the com­plainant had booked a plot for which he had paid a con­sid­er­able sum. How­ever, the project was not launched and the com­plainant in­sisted on a re­fund of the ini­tial de­posit de­spite the buyer of­fer­ing to ac­com­mo­date him in an­other project. The builder duly re­funded the amount along with in­ter­est cal­cu­lated for nine months which was ac­cepted by the com­plainant. There­after, in a com­plaint re­ferred to the dis­trict fo­rum, the com­plainant as­serted that since the pay­ment for the ini­tial de­posit was made at two dif­fer­ent points of time, the in­ter­est should be paid for a longer pe­riod. Non-pay­ment of in­ter­est for the en­tire pe­riod was claimed to be de­fi­ciency in ser­vice.

The dis­trict fo­rum ac­cepted the plea of the com­plainant and or­dered that the pay­ment of en­hanced amount be made in form of in­ter­est. The state com­mis­sion con­curred with the find­ings and dis­missed the builder’s ap­peal.

The Na­tional Com­mis­sion, on an­other ap­peal by the builder, took note of the fact that first the com­plainant had him­self sought a re­fund and sec­ond, upon re­ceiv­ing the cheque for the amount along with in­ter­est, the com­plainant had ac­cepted the cheque and in a let­ter to the builder, had promised to ex­change the orig­i­nal al­lot­ment doc­u­ments upon en­cash­ment of cheque. The Com­mis­sion con­cluded this to be a fi­nal set­tle­ment of com­plainant’s claim, dis­re­gard­ing his as­ser­tion that he had ac­cepted the cheque in protest.

Ac­cord­ing to the Com­mis­sion, had the com­plainant ac­cepted the cheque in protest, he would have recorded such protest in his let­ter to the builder and not sim­ply promised to re­turn the orig­i­nal al­lot­ment doc­u­ments. The re­la­tion­ship of the con­sumer and the ser­vice provider had ended once he had en­cashed the re­fund and there was no de­fi­ciency in pro­vi­sion of ser­vices on part of the builder as he had duly re­funded the amount­de­posited by the com­plainant. The Na­tional Com­mis­sion over­ruled the or­ders of the dis­trict fo­rum and the state com­mis­sion.

This judg­ment of the Na­tional Com­mis­sion reaf­firms the prin­ci­ple that to take ac­tion against a builder through con­sumer courts, the re­la­tion­ship of a con­sumer and ser­vice provider should be clearly es­tab­lished and there should be an ac­tual de­fi­ciency in pro­vi­sion of ser­vice by the builder.

A con­sumer who had ac­cepted a re­fund from a builder was not al­lowed by the Con­sumer Com­mis­sion to claim an ad­di­tional amount

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.