CERS SETTLES IN COURT – CA – OCT 2014
- Posted by CERC India
- Posted in monthly
CERS SETTLES IN COURTWhen mediation efforts fail, CERS files a complaint as the first litigant supporting the consumer right through the legal process.
Wedding is off, hotel told to pay part of advance amount
Narendra Kamdar, a resident of Ahmedabad, had booked a marriage hall in Cambay Hotels & Resorts, a unit of Nessa Leisure Ltd. on 27 February 2011 paying an advance of Rs. 51,000 through a cheque. His daughter was scheduled to get married on 15 May 2011. Due to unavoidable circumstances Kamdar had to cancel the booking and accordingly wrote to the hotel on 21 April 2011. He also asked for a refund of the advance amount.
Not getting a positive response from the hotel, he approached CERS which wrote two letters to the hotel management. Two employees of the hotel visited the CERS premises and offered to pay 50% of the amount but this offer was rejected by Kamdar. Subsequently, a legal notice was sent, in reply to which the hotel stated that as per its policy no refund was given if a cancellation was made within 90 days of the date of an event. This was to ensure that they get another booking on that date.
At no point while booking the hall was Kamdar made aware of the 90-day rule. CERS and Kamdar filed a complaint before the District Forum, Ahmedabad alleging unfair trade practice and prayed for the refund of the advance with interest. The hotel contended that it had not procured a booking for the day of the event and had suffered a greater loss than Rs. 51,000, May being the peak marriage season. It also stated that the complainant had not given a proper reason for cancelling the booking.
The Forum partly allowed the complaint. In its order dated 24 June 2014, it asked the hotel to pay Rs. 25,000 to the complainant with 9% interest from 3 April 2013 (date of filing of complaint) till realisation. No costs were awarded.
PAYING THE PENALTY
National Insurance fined for misleading court
In 2001, Hemant Rami gave Winner Capital and Credit Ltd. Rs. 77,000 and procured a National Insurance Co. Ltd. policy providing coverage for five years. In May 2001, he had an accident and was admitted in hospital for 20 days. The medical expenses came to Rs. 2.38 lakh. When he submitted the claim, to his shock and dismay, it was rejected. The grounds cited were that he had pre-existing diseases â€“ diabetes, hypertension, anaemia and hyperthyroidism â€“ which he had not declared at the time of taking the policy.
However, the complaint for which he was hospitalised was a fracture of the knee and the diseases mentioned above had no connection with this problem. Hence, Rami approached CERS for help. A complaint was filed before the District Forum, Ahmedabad alleging unfair trade practice. Winner said that it had no liability in the matter. National Insurance found some discrepancies in the documents submitted regarding the date of accident. Moreover, it said that it had sent Ramiâ€™s papers to a Mumbai-based doctor for review. The doctorâ€™s opinion had influenced the insurerâ€™s decision to repudiate the claim.
The Forum held the view that the doctor who had given the opinion was not the treating doctor. It allowed the complaint and asked the insurer to pay the claim amount. The insurance company appealed to the Gujarat State Commission. The Commission felt that the insurance company had tried to dupe the Forum. The insurer had been unable to prove that the diseases were pre-existing. Anyway, since Rami had treatment for a fracture, unrelated to the diseases, the claim could not be rejected.
The Commission upheld the Forumâ€™s ruling, dismissed the appeal and ordered the insurer to pay a fine of Rs. 5,000 for trying to mislead the court which would go into the Consumer Welfare Fund.