Booking movie tickets online through an application on your mobile phone or a website on your computer has only come as a boon to many frequent cinema goers. However, ever wondered if the “Internet Handling Charges” that we pay are legally chargeable?
An RTI query with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reveals that the platforms providing movie ticket booking services do not have any authority to levy handling fees on customers and that they are in violation of the RBI’s Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) regulations. Online film ticketing majors are fleecing movie buffs by charging them a whopping Rs. 35.20 on each ticket booked online through their websites and apps.
According to an activist Mr. Devaranjan,
“AS PER NORMS, THESE COMPANIES DO NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO LEVY INTERNET HANDLING FEES ON CUSTOMERS. THIS IS A CLEAR VIOLATION OF RBI’S MERCHANT DISCOUNT RATE(MDR) REGULATIONS.”
“THEY ARE COLLECTING THIS AMOUNT IN THE NAME OF AN ‘INTERNET HANDLING FEE’, VIOLATING THE NORMS OF THE RESERVE BANK OF INDIA,” SAID SOME OTHER ACTIVISTS.
The MDR is a payment gateway fee paid by merchants to the bank for accepting payments via debit or credit cards. As per the RBI, this fee has to be paid to banks by merchants for internet-based online transactions.
“HOWEVER, THIS FEE IS BEING COLLECTED FROM CONSUMERS BY ONLINE TICKET BOOKING PORTALS. MANY ONLINE TICKETING COMPANIES LIKE BOOKMYSHOW COLLECT ILLEGAL FEES FROM THE CUSTOMERS,” DEVARANJAN ADDED.
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