• Posted by CERC India
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ICICI Lombard pulled up for charging for ‘free’ health policy

Deepak Khatwani, an ICICI credit cardholder, was telephonically informed that ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd. was offering him a healthcare policy free for two years with sum insured being Rs. 3 lakh. He accepted the offer. Khatwani was taken aback to receive an ICICI credit card statement showing dues of Rs. 2,728. He wrote to ICICI Lombard and ICICI Bank, requesting them to confirm that the policy was free for two years or cancel the policy. The company cancelled the policy. But Khatwani continued to receive statements showing his mounting `dues’, inclusive of late payment fees and interest. After a few months, he started getting abusive phone calls and an agent visited his home and extracted Rs. 2,210.

Harassed, Khatwani approached CERS which took up the matter with the opposite parties. Meanwhile, ICICI Bank slapped on him a notice on unpaid outstanding credit card dues of Rs. 17,117 asking him to pay up in seven days. Next, Khatwani was shocked to receive a statement reflecting the withdrawal of Rs. 19,049 from his savings account. CERS and Khatwani complained to the Consumer Forum which ruled in his favour. The Forum directed ICICI Lombard to credit in Khatwani’s savings bank account Rs. 19,049 with interest and refund the Rs. 2,210 illegally recovered from him with interest. He was also awarded Rs. 6,000 as compensation for mental agony and Rs. 2,000 towards costs. ICICI Lombard appealed to the Gujarat State Commission but the appeal was dismissed.

Passenger reschedules journey by Alitalia, invites trouble

Gopinath K. Deshpande had booked tickets by Alitalia airline for a round trip – Mumbai-Milan-Newark-Milan-Mumbai. He was scheduled to return a month later. While in the US, he requested rescheduling of his return flight from Newark and received a confirmation. To his dismay, at Newark airport, Alitalia informed him that the flight to Milan was full. He was put on board a flight to Rome with the assurance that another flight would take him to Milan. In Rome, the security staff took away Deshpande’s passport, tickets and boarding cards on the ground that he did not possess an Italian visa. He was placed in airport police custody for 24 hours. Finally, he was allowed to board the flight to Milan and then to Mumbai, throughout in policy custody.

At Mumbai, he was subjected to detailed questioning because of an entry of deportation and allowed to go home after nearly five hours, that too without his baggage. Deshpande complained to the Maharashtra State Commission, claiming a compensation for harassment of Rs. 19 lakh. He submitted a letter in which Alitalia admitted its lapse and offered to reimburse the Newark-Mumbai airfare. The Commission said the airline could not be blamed but directed it to pay Deshpande the airfare. Deshpande filed an appeal in the National Commission. It allowed the appeal, holding Alitalia guilty of deficiency in service. But it observed that the award of compensation beyond the refund of the fare offered by Alitalia was clearly unfeasible in view of the closure of operations of Alitalia in India and its worldwide restructuring.

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