A number of recent verdicts from the IV Additional District Consumer Forum in the city is a virtual alert for consumers. The cases range from violation of MRP
on goods to damaging household effects during shipping.
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Vinay Prabhu had bought an Aquaguard Water Purifier (model Inova) on 6 March 2007 from Eureka Forbes ltd. in Benaganahalli, Bangalore. But from the date of purchase the purifier gave him trouble. The purified water was bad and difficult to drink. White and black particles floated inside the water and he immediately complained to the shop. He had to complain several times before they sent a technician who told him that the purifier was defective. He got another device from the firm which also gave him a bad taste from the water. The shop promised to test the water in their lab but never did so. He finally complained to the IV Forum which ordered the vendor to refund the Rs.8150 to Prabhu along with costs of Rs.3000 and compensation of Rs.2000. (comp. no. 959/2007.)
S Ramadas of Malleswaram was lured by rosy brochures, representations and promises by GE Countrywide Consumer Financial Services Ltd. in Indiranagar First Stage to avail a cash card from them. He was promised that he has to pay Rs.299 as yearly fees and interest at 2.95 per cent on the amount drawn under the card and nothing else. He received their monthly statement in February 2005 for Rs.198 as annual fee and in August 2005 he cleared that amount for all the remaining months till then. But later he got a bill for Rs.2412 as outstanding in respect of the cash card though he had moved for cancellation of it after getting all extra bills in the guise of insurance and other charges. He finally complained to this forum which ordered the firm to pay Rs.10,000 to Ramdas and also ordered it not to indulge in such unfair trade practice in future. (Comp. no. 298/20070.)
Prof Dr T L Devaraj bought a curds packet of 500 gms in March 2007 from Fabmall, Chikkalasandra on two occasions for which he was charged Rs.10 for each. But the MRP on it was Rs.9. The shop told him he was charged extra for service charges. He complained and the Forum ordered Fabmall to pay up Rs.2000 as compensation along with costs of Rs.1000 to Devaraj. (Comp. no. 750/2007).
N K Suparna of Basaveshwaranagar bought a Ruggers brand pant for his son from Mega Mart Showroom in West of Chord Road, Swathi Hotel Complex for Rs.950. His son wore the pant and on the very first day it tore near the pocket, and within a few days the colour faded at different places! The buyer realized it was old stock and contacted the shop which sent it for testing and then forgot about the matter! He had to complain and the court ordered the shop to refund Rs.950 and pay up Rs.1000 as costs to the buyer.
An advertisement put out in a daily attracted Vishal Saxena of Whitefield who purchased two digital cameras from Camera City, Brigade Road, Bangalore. They are the authorised dealers for using the ICICI Bank credit card. As per the advertisement the payment would be converted into instant EMI’s without any interest and down payment. He had paid up Rs.14,999 and Rs. 9,999 respectively. But the amount paid is not converted into the EMI and the same was reflected in his current month credit card statement.
He made several calls and sent e-mails to Kodak India Ltd. and ICICI Bank and according to the consumer, the firms said they were unaware of the advertisement in Bangalore Times! Saxena complained to the IV Forum and President Sri G Siddanagoud ordered Kodak India Ltd. in Kalina, Mumbai to pay up Rs.20,000 as compensation to Saxena along with costs of Rs.5000. (Comp. no. 961/07). Dated 30 June 2007.
M Viswanathan bought an MP3/MP player through online (eBay-India) for Rs.2307. The vendor informed him through mail that he had dispatched the items through First Flight Courier on 2 February 2007. But neither Viswanathan nor anyone in his office received the consignment. He told the consumer forum that he had bought the player by paying for it and also stated details about the dispatch made by the vendor through First Flight Courier and non-receipt of the goods sent. After several visits to their office and many phone calls, they admitted it had been lost. The IV Forum ordered First Flight Couriers Ltd. in South Wing, Airport Road, to pay up Rs.2,236 along with Rs.1000 as costs to the complainant.
An even more dismal fate awaited V Suresh Kumar of BTM Layout Bangalore who was working with Canara Bank in Mumbai and was transferred to Bangalore. He got all his household articles and personal belongings packed into 36 boxes which were loaded in the presence of Kalwania Roadways, Thane Panvel road, Mumbai in 29 July 2006 on a closed-top truck. He was assured that his goods would be transported in a closed-top truck. He paid up Rs.17,000 to Kalwania Roadways for their services. He was promised that his goods would arrive at Bangalore on 31/7/2006. However the goods did not arrive and he was given evasive answers by the firm.
Finally on 5/8/2006 Kalwania Roadways delivered the goods through M/s Sham Packers and Cargo Movers, Mumbai. Kumar was shocked to find that his 36 boxes had arrived in an open-top truck. Worse, they were delivered in rain-soaked, broken, wet and damaged condition! The goods had been opened out of the 36 boxes, and repacked in 46 boxes! Unauthorised loading and unloading and unprofessional handling had damaged the goods beyond repair or use! His washing machine, television, crockery items, expensive clothes, books etc. were damaged.
Kumar complained several times to Kalwania Roadways and was ignored. A legal notice was also ignored. He complained to the IV Additional Forum which found the firm guilty of deficient service and ordered Kalwania Roadways to pay up Rs.1,00,000 to Kumar along with Rs.10,000 as costs. Unfortunately, he had not kept a record of how much his goods had cost. He had asked for Rs.3 lakh as compensation but because he had no proof to show the court, he was awarded only one lakh rupees.(Comp. no. 3218/2006, March 2007.)
A smarter consumer was Renjit Lal of Kammanahalli, Bangalore paid up Rs.23,500 towards packing and unpacking charges, crating transportation charges along with Rs.5250 for safe transportation from Hyderabad to Bangalore to Allied Lemuir Movers Pvt. Ltd, Secunderabad. But when they arrived at Bangalore he found that most of his goods like sofa, dining table, fancy pots and paintings were broken and damaged. The sofa and dining set were bought at Hyderabad for Rs.34,000 and Rs.57,000 respectively. They were hand carved and had splendid workmanship, according to Lal. But when he complained to the movers they refused to pay up for the damages.
Although he had insured his goods with National Insurance Company Ltd, it refused to pay up the correct amount to him. He complained to the consumer forum and the President ordered Allied Lemuir Movers in Bangalore and Secunderabad and National Insurance Company Ltd. to pay up Rs.91,000 jointly to Renjit Lal along with Rs.3678 towards excess premium collected from him, another Rs.25,000 as compensation and Rs. 5000 as costs.
These cases are an alert to the consumer about the following:
1. Always check the MRP on any goods you buy the way T L Devaraj checked when he bought the curds packet from Fabmall.
2. Always make a list of the household goods that you transport to another place, and as many bills and other proof you have to show how much they cost, when you need to go to the consumer court. Suresh Kumar failed to do this and had to bear the loss. Preferably get a lawyer to make a list of all your household goods. Give one copy to the transporter.
3. File complaints with the President, Ist Additional Consumer Forum, 8th floor, BWSSB Building, Cauvery Bhavan, K G Road, Bangalore 560001. Tel: +91-80-22211137. Send a demand draft for Rs.100 with your complaint.
4. If you have been cheated by an advertisement, make sure you have copies of that ad when you go to court. Keep each and every bill you have in the transaction.
5. File your complaint within a year and a half. If you wait for two years it becomes void. The court will not accept it.
6. Clearly mention in your complaint the amount you want the court to get back for you from the opposite party.