October 31, 2021 6:13:35 am
The Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission of Chandigarh, while directing a travel company to pay Rs 44,760 to a Chandigarh resident over the latter’s cancellation of booking, said that the company wants to be in a ‘win-win’ situation and its approach simply is ‘Heads I win, tails you lose’.
Vivek Kumar of Chandigarh alleged that he along with his friends planned to visit Sangla, Himachal Pradesh, came across a lucrative plan offered by Banjara Camps & Retreat, a travel company, on its website and decided to book rooms for camping at Sangla Valley.
Vivek booked a holiday package for four families which included his three friends, their wives and children. The total amount for the package was fixed at Rs 1,38,799, out of which Rs 40,000 was paid in advance. However, due to the death of a family member of the complainant, they had to cancel their booking. Vivek initiated a cancellation by sending an email to the company on May 28, 2019. He asked for a cancellation and refund but to no avail. However, after persuasion, the company agreed to give him a refund of Rs 12,240 on June 17, 2019, withholding the remaining Rs 27,760 as cancellation charges.
In their reply, the travel company said that the cancellation caused them a huge monetary loss, but as a goodwill gesture, they were willing to offer a credit note of the full advance amount. But this offer was refused by the complainant who insisted for a refund. As per the company’s cancellation policy, the complainant was then given a refund after deducting 20 percent of the total amount.
The Commission, after hearing the matter, said, “No doubt the company has alleged that a huge monetary loss has been caused to it due to the cancellation by the complainant. But in such a scenario, it was incumbent upon the company, being the custodian of the record, to have produced some credible evidence pertaining to the bookings of the relevant period to show that the rooms booked by the complainant remained vacant. However, nothing of the sort has been placed on record by them. It is also common knowledge that due to summer vacations in schools during the months of May-June, people generally throng the hills and other places with their families/friends to unwind themselves and spend some quality time. Without prior booking, it becomes difficult to get hotel/rooms of their choice during this peak season. Therefore, it is hard to believe that the rooms remained vacant and any loss was caused to the the company.”
The Commission further said that if the offer made by the company regarding giving credit note was not acceptable to the complainant, he was well within his right to reject the same. It further said, “the company cannot bind the complainant to its terms and conditions with regard to deduction of 20 per cent of full amount when they themselves did not follow the same meticulously.”
Partly allowing the plea of Vivek Kumar, the Commision directed Banjara Camps and Retreat, to refund the amount of Rs 27,760 to the complainant, Rs 10,000 as compensation and Rs 7,000 as costs of litigation.
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