The Consumer Forum of Chandigarh directed two travel firms to pay Rs 37,000 to a former HCS (Haryana Civil Services) officer after the travel firms did not respond even after charging the booking amount for a Goa trip.
Harish C Jain of Chandigarh, who had been a former Additional Collector-cum-S.D.M in Chandigarh, approached the firm Hello Travel Online for tour package of Goa for three nights and four days which is from September 27, 2018 to September 30, 2018 and finalised Your Tour Advisor for the tour package which included resort at Caravela beach, breakfast, dinner and personal Tempo Traveller-12 seater, for a charge of Rs 61,200 on August 2, 2018. Jain thus transferred an amount of Rs 20,000 in the account of Hello Travel firm.
Jain alleged that even after booking and advance payment, Hello Travel Online firm never sent hotel vouchers and other relevant documents regarding the stay at Goa, and even after several calls and emails sent, did not reply. Left with no option, Jain had to make last-minute arrangements and had to book another hotel and tour package, and had to bear extra charges of Rs 61,344 due to non-performance of deal and negligence on the part of Hello travel firm. Following the complaint, Hello Travel firm did not turn up despite service of notice even through publication, hence it was proceeded exparte in April, 2019.
Meanwhile, Your Tour Advisor in reply submitted that Hello Travel Online firm does not charge any service charges or any fee from the user who visits its site nor the same has been charged from the complainant. It is stated that during the course of matchmaking, the role of Hello Travel website is limited to sharing the contact details of one or more travel agent/travel agencies to the traveler. While the complainant himself decided to opt to proceed with Hello Travel and their firm is not privy to the negotiations, offer, acceptance, payment, if any took place between the travel agent and the complainant, in any manner.
The forum after hearing the arguments held that the stand of Your Tour Advisor that it has no privy to the negotiations took place between the complainant and Hello Travel Online firm is not sustainable. Also Hello Travel online chose not to appear and preferred to proceed exparte, which raises a reasonable presumption that either it admit the claim of the complainant or has nothing to contradict the duly sworn allegations of the complainant as contained in the complaint and are therefore correct.
The Forum in the judgment released on August 6, directed Hello Travel Online to refund Rs 20,000 to the complainant; while it was directed to Hello Travel and Your Tour Advisor to pay an amount of Rs 10,000 to the complainant for causing mental agony and harassment, along with Rs 7000 towards litigation expenses.
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