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‘Honeymoon holds a special place’: Travel firm, hotel fined for duping Chandigarh couple by sharing fake image of balcony

The Chandigarh Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission directed a travel firm and a Manali-based hotel to pay Rs 27,302 to a UT resident for 'misrepresenting' the balcony view from the hotel at the time of making reservations.

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh |
October 29, 2021 10:02:39 am
A file photo of Manali after the snow (Express Photo: Pradeep Kumar)

Observing that “honeymoon holds a special place and sentimental value in the lives of newlyweds, who plan in advance, after exploring and surfing various options, and finally make reservations for hotel, travel and other activities as per their requirement and budget”, the Chandigarh Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission directed a travel firm and a Manali-based hotel to pay Rs 27,302 to a UT resident for ‘misrepresenting’ the balcony view from the hotel at the time of making reservations. The complainant alleged that his honeymoon was spoiled as the two firms failed to fulfil their commitments.

The complainant said that he was allured by the travel firm, Travel Talkies, and hotel The Humsour View in Manali to book a tour package of about Rs 30,500 for two couples. The travel firm had also shared photographs of the hotel accommodation, with a view from the balcony, through WhatsApp.

Believing the same, the complainant had booked the package and paid Rs 10,302 on December 15, 2020. The firm confirmed the booking for four adults.

However, as the complainant, his wife and another couple checked in at The Humsour View Manali as per the booking schedule, the travel firm and the hotel failed to fulfil their promises and neither welcome drinks were served nor the rooms were provided as per the bookings.

The complainant alleged that despite several requests, the firms did not pay heed and rather flatly refused to arrange the rooms. Left with no alternative, the complainant stayed at hotel The Rudra Place for two nights, and paid Rs 18,000 to the hotel, along with Rs 9,500 for a taxi service.

As the hotel or travel firm representatives did not appear before the commission in spite of the notice issued to them, vide order dated July 5, 2021, of this commission, they were proceeded against ex-parte.

The commission bench, after hearing the matter, said, “It is important to note here that honeymoon holds a special place and sentimental value in the lives of newlyweds who plan in advance, after exploring and surfing various options, and finally make the reservations for the hotel, travel and other activities as per their requirements and budget. All this is done to avoid any last minute hurdles so that they can enjoy each other’s company.”

The commission further said: “Nowadays, it has become very common to see the newly-weds posting photographs of their hotel and places visited during their honeymoon. For them, it is a memory to cherish for life and couples get nostalgic remembering those. Here also, as is made out, the complainant had made the hotel booking and paid the consideration in advance after going through the images sent to him on his WhatsApp, whereby, he was assured the view visible from his balcony, which, turned out to be farce and all his plans turned sour immediately upon reaching the hotel. Therefore, it was but natural for the complainant (newlyweds) to be sulking and feeling cheated if the promised services were not provided. Hence, the complainant was well within his right to make alternate arrangement at his own in another hotel and OPs are bound to refund the amount paid to them as well as compensate the complainant for the inconvenience caused to him.”

The commission, thus, directed the travel firm and the hotel to refund Rs 10,302 paid by the complainant towards the booking made by him, and pay Rs 10,000 as compensation and Rs 7,000 as costs of litigation.

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