Judge­ments from con­sumer fo­rums across In­dia

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• Bri­tan­nia fined for sell­ing packet with less than printed weight

Ahmed­abad con­sumer fo­rum has fined Bri­tan­nia In­dus­tries for sell­ing bis­cuit pack­ets that weighed less than what was printed on them. The fo­rum also asked the com­pany to de­posit Rs 25,000 in the Con­sumer Wel­fare Fund as a fine and pay an­other Rs 6,000 to Lalji Pa­tel, the com­plainant.

Pa­tel had moved the fo­rum after find­ing that the four bis­cuit pack­ets he pur­chased in 2012 weighed less than 122.5 grams, which was the printed weight on them. He ver­i­fied the ac­tual weight with a lo­cal ISO 9001-cer­ti­fied lab­o­ra­tory.

Pa­tel had con­tended that the four pack­ets of bis­cuits that he pur­chased weighed 104 grams, 112 grams, 114 grams and 117 grams, re­spec­tively. The con­sumer fo­rum in its or­der stated that the dif­fer­ence in ac­tual and printed weights on the pack­ets was not neg­li­gi­ble and was more than the max­i­mum per­mis­si­ble er­ror, and hence de­clared Bri­tan­nia guilty of ‘un­fair trade prac­tice’.

The com­pany had ar­gued that it had so­phis­ti­cated man­u­fac­tur­ing plants where the bis­cuits were packed in or­der to main­tain the in­ter­na­tional stan­dard. The vari­a­tion in weight could have been caused due to trans­porta­tion and weather con­di­tions. The court, though, found this un­jus­ti­fi­able.

• Air­tel found guilty of over­billing

Ben­galuru con­sumer fo­rum has or­dered Air­tel to pay Rs 5,000 as com­pen­sa­tion for over­billing a cus­tomer and forc­ing him to pay the in­flated bill by abruptly dis­con­nect­ing his ser­vice. The cus­tomer had

opted for a par­tic­u­lar plan that had a clear credit limit. How­ever, Air­tel charged him be­yond the set limit and dis­con­nected the num­ber cit­ing non-pay­ment of bills as rea­son.

While look­ing for more in­ter­net data and ad­di­tional talk­time, R Mu­rali bought one 1,999 plan from an Air­tel out­let in May 2016. The plan promised free lo­cal and STD calls in­clud­ing roam­ing, un­lim­ited SMS and 7.1 GB of in­ter­net data. How­ever, within two weeks of us­age, the user re­ceived a text from Air­tel stat­ing he had ex­ceeded his us­age limit. Puz­zled, the 44-year-old cus­tomer called the Air­tel ex­ec­u­tive who con­vinced him that the new pack­age would kick in within a few days and the dis­counts would come into ef­fect.

In June 2016, Mu­rali was shocked to re­ceive an email stat­ing his Air­tel bill was Rs 9,979. Mu­rali con­tacted the Air­tel helpline and raised a query about how could the 1,999 plan go be­yond the cap with­out the cus­tomer re­ceiv­ing any alert. Al­though the com­pany ex­ec­u­tives ad­mit­ted to a pos­si­ble mixup and as­sured Mu­rali of sort­ing out the is­sue, they only barred all his ser­vices within a few days. This forced him to lodge a for­mal com­plaint at the fo­rum.

• Aakash In­sti­tute pe­nalised for poor ser­vice

Con­vinced that Aakash In­sti­tute had failed to pro­vide the ser­vices it promised, Ahmed­abad con­sumer fo­rum has pe­nalised the in­sti­tute and asked its Am­bawadi branch of to pay Rs 20,000 to the com­plainant along with eight per cent in­ter­est from 14 Septem­ber 2017 till the date of pay­ment. It also asked the in­sti­tute to pay the le­gal cost of Rs 5,000 be­sides Rs 5,000 for caus­ing men­tal ha­rass­ment.

In a com­plaint filed by Devesh Dand, fa­ther of a Class 10 stu­dent, it was stated that the stu­dent was to take coach­ing for Class X ICSE board ex­ams and paid a regis­tra­tion fee of Rs 5,750 in April 2017. While en­rolling, the stu­dent was told that coach­ing would be­gin on an im­me­di­ate ba­sis. How­ever, the classes were de­layed by over a month and even­tu­ally started with only two stu­dents. Also, the classes fo­cused on CBSE and Gu­jarat board cur­ricu­lum and not ICSE, for which the stu­dent had en­rolled. All com­plaints made to the in­sti­tute by the stu­dent and his fa­ther went in vain. Ag­grieved, Dand filed a for­mal com­plaint at the fo­rum.

• SBI to com­pen­sate for is­su­ing re­cov­ery no­tice for set­tled loan

In an in­ter­est­ing rul­ing, Nag­pur district con­sumer fo­rum has di­rected State Bank of In­dia (SBI) to pay com­pen­sa­tion to a cus­tomer for send­ing him a re­cov­ery no­tice for a loan that was al­ready re­paid.

“This de­ci­sion will have long-last­ing im­pact on banks for send­ing re­cov­ery no­tices even after loan was paid and pay­ing no heed to re­quests of the con­sumers. The fo­rum found de­fi­ciency in ser­vice by SBI and di­rected bank to pay Rs 5,000 to­wards men­tal ha­rass­ment and Rs 2,500 as lit­i­ga­tion costs to the con­sumer,” the lawyer rep­re­sent­ing the con­sumer said in his state­ment to the me­dia.

V Sa­hasrabud­dhe had availed a loan of one lakh ru­pees from SBI’s Dharam­peth branch in Nag­pur. How­ever, he could not re­pay the loan on time, re­sult­ing in the loan be­ing trans­ferred in SBI’s Stressed As­sets Re­cov­ery (SAR) branch. The SAR branch of­fered a one-time set­tle­ment scheme, which he ac­cepted and there­after re­paid and set­tled his loan.

How­ever, in 2015, the bank’s Dharam­peth branch, from where he had availed the loan, sent him a no­tice for re­cov­ery, along with a warn­ing that ac­tion would be ini­ti­ated against him un­der the Se­cu­ri­ti­sa­tion and Re­con­struc­tion of Fi­nan­cial As­sets and En­force­ment of Se­cu­rity In­ter­est (SARFAESI) Act. After re­ceiv­ing the no­tice, Sa­hasrabud­dhe vis­ited the bank branch with his loan-set­tle­ment doc­u­ments and re­quested for a no-dues cer­tifi­cate, which was de­clined by the branch.

After hear­ing both the par­ties, the fo­rum ob­served that after the loan was paid in one branch, the de­mand for re­pay­ment by an­other branch amounted to de­fi­ciency in ser­vice. It held SBI li­able to pay the costs for lit­i­ga­tion and men­tal ha­rass­ment.

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