JUL-16: SETTLED IN COURT
Overcharging for water bottle attracts Rs. 5 L penalty! Â Â
Manoj Kumar went for a movie at Big Cinemas in Jaipur, run by Reliance Media Works. He bought a bottle of Aquafina water and was charged Rs. 30 though the printed MRP was Rs. 16. Upset, Manoj asked for the complaint book but this was not given to him. Manoj filed a complaint before the District Forum. Reliance contended that the bottles were purchased at a printed MRP of Rs. 30 specifically to be sold in cinema halls. It alleged that Manoj had bought his bottle from a local shop and had filed a false complaint.
The forum upheld Manojâ€™s complaint and asked the company to refund Rs. 14 and pay the complainant Rs 5,000 as compensation for mental agony and Rs. 1,500 towards legal expenses. Reliance challenged the order before the Rajasthan State Commission, but the appeal was dismissed. The company then filed a revision petition before the National Commission.
The National Commission felt the crucial issue was whether a cinema hall could charge a special MRP for products. It warned Pepsico India Holdings (manufacturer of Aquafina) to have only one MRP. It held Reliance liable of â€œillegal enrichmentâ€ and â€œextorting money from their customersâ€ and set a penalty of Rs. 5 lakh.
Point of law
Overcharging consumers is not permissible. Also, dual pricing is an unfair trade practice.
Anand Lakhlani of Ahmedabad wanted to immigrate to Canada. He was promised by NB International that he would get permanent resident (PR) visa of Canada within a year. Accordingly, he made an initial payment and signed an agreement. On NBâ€™s advice, Anand paid Rs. 91,560 (2000 Canadian dollars) to another party to source a qualified employer for him.
What followed was a frustrating experience for Anand. He received job offers but they were either fake or not suiting his profile and hence were rejected by Service Canada. Meanwhile, he had to make further payments. Eventually, NB threw up its hands and said it could not help him. Anand asked for a fee refund. As the firm refused, he contacted CERS, Ahmedabad. When mediation efforts by CERS and a legal notice failed to get results, a complaint was filed in the District Forum.
The forum upheld the complaint and ordered NB International to refund the rupee equivalent of 4000 Canadian dollars with 9% interest. In addition, the firm was told to pay the complainant Rs. 5,000 towards compensation for mental agony and legal expenses.
Point of law
If an immigration consultancy firm fails to fulfil its commitment it has to refund the fees.