Judgements from consumer forums across India
• Croma store fined for refusing refund on failed transaction A consumer court in Bengaluru has ordered Croma store, Koramangala, to refund the payment it had collected from a north Bengaluru customer for a washing machine. The store had refused to deliver the machine, claiming that the debit card transaction had failed. It was ordered to pay Chitransh Shrivatsava Rs 31,689, the price of the washing machine, and Rs 5,000 for all the problems it had caused him.
Shrivatsava had walked into the store on 7 January 2017 and decided to buy a washing machine. He had handed over his SBI debit card and the store staff swiped the card for Rs 31,689. The amount was debited from his account, but Croma staff refused to hand over the machine, stating it was not credited to their merchant account. They claimed the swipe returned a failed transaction.
While the banking enquiries went on, Shrivatsava purchased the machine from the same store using another card days later. He then followed up with SBI on the first transaction and learnt from customer care that the money had been credited to Croma’s bank account. • School asked to refund fee for mistreating child In Bengaluru, improper treatment meted out by a teacher at Royale Concorde International School had forced a five-year-old Class I girl student to refrain from going to school. The school authorities had refused refund of admission fee despite several requests to the management. Stating that a teacher should not behave in a rude manner as it creates a threat in the child’s mind, the consumer court ordered the school to refund Rs 93,000 to the parents of the girl.
The problem with the school had started on the opening day itself. The girl attended the first day in great excitement but came back home crying, saying that her teacher had not treated her properly. She refused to go to school the next day. Her mother made futile attempts to convince her daughter to attend school, and when she approached the school and explained the situation, the school authorities did not try to instil any confidence in the child to get back to school.
• Electricity company cannot cut power without notice Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) had recently received two complaints, both from senior citizens, over the disconnection of electricity supply.
In a case from Vijayashreepura, the consumer had forgotten to pay the electricity bill, and in a case from VV Puram, the consumer had paid the bill but Chamundeshwari Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) had mistakenly credited the amount into the account of a different individual and not to the consumer’s account. Electricity was cut immediately in both cases.
The question in these cases was whether CESC could immediately cut electricity supply when the bill payment was not credited to the consumer’s account before the deadline. The bill no doubt says on its reverse that it itself is the final notice before disconnection. But such a notice is against the directions of the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC), and the service provider has to send a separate notice before disconnection.
• SBI guilty of deficiency in service
Akola district’s consumer forum has held State Bank of India (SBI) guilty of deficiency in service for debiting money from a bank account despite a failed ATM withdrawal and awarded a compensation of Rs 3,000 to the accountholder. Besides awarding the compensation, the consumer forum also directed the bank to refund the wrongly debited amount of Rs 5,000 and pay Rs 2,000 towards legal cost to the accountholder.
The complainant, Pradeep Shitre, had approached the forum in September 2017, saying the bank had wrongly debited Rs 5,000 from his account in January that year although he did not receive the cash from the ATM. He told the forum that when he followed up with the bank on the matter, it assured him that he would get the refund. However, this did not happen. The forum, chaired by SM Untavle and comprising member Bharti Kethkar, passed the order ex-parte observing that SBI did not appear before it despite receiving notices.