THE DISTRICT Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum II has directed Thomas Cook, a travel company, to refund Rs 2.85 lakh for failing to arrange visa for a Panchkula-based family. The complainant, Rajesh Datta, a resident of Sector 4 in Panchkula, had booked a tour of Europe for 15 days and 14 nights from June 20, 2015, for Rs 8.23 lakh from Thomas Cook and according to the terms and conditions, the package was for all passengers, including wife, son and daughter of the complainant and it was inclusive of visa, air fare, stay, meals, sightseeing, etc.
Datta had paid Rs 4 lakh to Thomas Cook and thereafter, the booking confirmation was issued to the complainants on May 18, 2015. Then, on June 13, the company demanded the balance of Rs 4.23 lakh and a mail from Thomas Cook to Datta stated that till June 13, the UK visa was ready but not the Schengen Visa. The complainant, however, deposited the balance amount of Rs 4.23 lakh.
Meanwhile, just three days prior to the tour slated to begin on June 17, 2015, the complainant received information that their Schengen Visa had been rejected by the Italian embassy because “information submitted regarding the justification for the purpose and conditions of intended stay were not reliable”.
According to the complaint, the Embassy of Italy, while rejecting the applications of the complainants for visa, had given an option to appeal to the Administrative Regional Tribunal (TAR) of Lazio within 60 days from the notification of refusal. But Thomas Cook, which was bound to arrange visa for the Dattas, did not take any step to file an appeal before TAR against the orders of refusal.
The complainant, however, requested the company for a refund of the amount, whereupon the latter refunded Rs 5.39 lakh after deducting Rs 2.85 lakh. The complainants made several requests to the company for a refund of the balance, but all in vain. Following this, the complainant moved the consumer forum. The consumer forum, taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case, directed Thomas Cook to refund Rs 2.85 lakh to the complainant within a month.