A leading investment and financial firm has been ordered by the country’s apex consumer forum to pay over Rs 15 lakh to an elderly couple for selling their shares without their consent and causing loss to them.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) asked Indiabulls Financial Services Ltd to pay Kerala resident Varghese Skaria,a retired private firm employee and his wife Darly Varghese to pay the sum,holding the firm guilty of rendering deficient service.
Upholding the Kerala State Consumer Commission’s March 2011 verdict,an NCDRC bench headed by Justice V B Gupta ordered payment of Rs 13 lakh to the couple,besides a compensation of Rs two lakh.
The NCDRC also imposed a litigation cost of Rs 10,000 on the firm to be paid to the consumer legal aid account,while dismissing its appeal against the Kerala’s State Consumer Commission order.
The state consumer commission’s order had come on a plea by Kerala couple who had alleged that the firm sold their shares without consent and at a time when the market value was very low,resulting in huge losses to them.
The firm had challenged the state commission’s order on the ground that the couple were not covered within the meaning of ‘consumer’ under the Consumer Protection Act.
The NCDRC rejected the firm’s defence,saying the couple had invested their hard-earned money with the firm “not for commercial gains but to earn their livelihood after their retirement” and were covered within the meaning of ‘consumer’.