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Consumer court fines immigration agents for selling false dreams

A number of youngsters who wanted to study abroad but were duped by fraudulent immigration agents have found justice after knocking on the doors of Chandigarh Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums.

Written by Rajni Shaleen Chopra | Chandigarh | Published: July 21, 2011 1:52:41 am

A number of youngsters who wanted to study abroad but were duped by fraudulent immigration agents have found justice after knocking on the doors of Chandigarh Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums. In most of these cases,the students did not get admission to the college of their choice but were only given false assurances by the immigration agents.

Take the case of Badal Verma,a resident of Amritsar,who was duped by an immigration consultant based in Sector 17,Chandigarh. In his complaint submitted to Chandigarh Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-I,Verma stated that he wanted to do a course in hotel management in Australia and approached the consultants for the purpose. He initially paid them Rs 7,254,and then 540 Australian dollars for the various expenditures required to go abroad. He said that it was the duty of the consultants to process his visa and get the requisite clearance in his favour before the stipulated date.

Verma stated in his complaint that since this was not done,the consultants must refund to him Rs 25,000. He added that due to deficiency of service on their part,he lost one year of his academic career. After Verma filed a complaint in the consumer forum,the consultants refunded the total fee paid by him. The Forum also directed the consultants to pay him Rs 5,000 for harassment and Rs 2,000 as cost of litigation.

In another complaint,Pardeep Dabur of Amargarh village in Karnal district complained against an immigration agency in Sector 17,Chandigarh,engaged in sending students to Canada. He said that in 2008,the agency assured him of a visa and employment in Canada for a total payment of Rs 6.5 lakh.

Dabur paid the agency Rs 3.5 lakh for the preliminary work on his visa. However,in October 2009 the Canadian embassy rejected his application on the ground that the employment offer was not genuine. Dabur repeatedly approached the agency to either arrange the visa for him or refund his deposit,but in vain. He then filed a case in Chandigarh Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum.

After Dabur filed the case,the agency refunded him Rs 1 lakh. After considering the case and looking at the payment receipts,the Forum directed the agency to refund Dabur the remaining Rs 2.5 lakh with interest at the rate of 9 per cent per annum from the date of filing the complaint. The Forum also directed the agency to pay Rs 7,500 to Dabur as compensation and cost of litigation.

In yet another case,Arun William of Nayagaon near Chandigarh complained to the Chandigarh Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum against an immigration agency based in Sector 17,Chandigarh. William stated that in order to study in Australia,he had cleared the IELTS test with 7 bands. He also deposited approximately Rs 3.15 lakh with the agency after he was assured of admission to a course in Australia.

However,the agency failed to secure admission for him to the college of his choice. After William’s father threatened to file a criminal case against the agency,he was returned only Rs 40,000.

In its reply,the agency claimed that William was unable to arrange and show sufficient funds in his account for going abroad. However,the Forum observed that the agency failed to provide the correct information to William about immigration laws and procedure. The Forum said the agency was “grossly deficient and callous” towards William and had harassed him with false assurances for over one year.

In this light,the Forum directed the agency to refund William Rs 2.67 lakh,along with Rs 50,000 as compensation for harassment,financial loss and career loss,and Rs 5,000 as cost of litigation.

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