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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Subsequently, a Letter of Intent (LoI) was issued on May 22, 2012, promising possession within 36 months. Sharma paid Rs 58,65,000 more as demanded.
The Authority failed to deliver possession within the promised period. So Sharma sent a letter on July 1, 2016 seeking a refund of the entire amount paid by him, but his request was ignored.
Instead, a letter backdated June 30, 2016, was sent on July 4, 2016, offering possession of the apartment, but Sharma did not take possession. After a few months, the Authority sent a letter agreeing to refund the money without interest, subject to a deduction of
10% of the total price paid.
Sharma then filed a complaint before the Punjab State Commission, which was contested by the Authority.
The Commission overruled the objection raised by the Authority that the dispute should be referred to arbitration or a civil court, and held the consumer fora were competent to adjudicate the dispute. It concluded a consumer who is not given possession in time has a right to seek a refund. Accordingly, it directed the Authority to refund the entire amount along with 8% compound interest. In addition, Rs 50,000 was awarded as compensation and Rs 21,000 as litigation costs.
The Authority appealed against this order. The National Commission scrutinized the postal receipts and the envelopes and found the letter sent by the Authority had been despatched on July 4, 2016, but had been backdated to June 30, 2016, to make it appear it was sent a day prior to Sharma’s letter dated July 1, 2016.
Accordingly, by its order of January 2, 2019, delivered by the bench of Justice R K Agrawal and Justice M Shreesha, the National Commission dismissed the Authority’s appeal.
Conclusion: A flat purchaser can seek a refund along with interest and compensation if possession is delayed. Such a demand could be made at any time prior to the issuance of letter offering possession.
(The author is a consumer activist and has won the Govt.of India’s National Youth Award for Consumer Protection. His email is )
Jehangir B Gai
ePaper, The Times of India, Bombay, Monday, January 07, 2019, Page 4:
A consumer Court in Raipur has recently imposed a penalty of Rs.2500/- on SBI for exactly the same reason overruling 🎯the arguments of SBI that
1) the complainant was not its customer and
2) failure of internet connectivity is not within its ambit, rather it is upon the internet service provider against whom, any complaint if any, should lie.
The Forum countered SBI by saying that when Banks are charging for usage of ATMs for a whole year in advance and a client is Free to use any ATM he automatically becomes a customer.
The second point was countered with the reasoning that when the ATM itself was showing “No Cash Available” on 3 different dates and times how it can be a case of internet failure? Moreover, when customers are penalised for no balance or less than minimum balance in their accounts, how can a Bank get away with no cash in the ATM?
It being the first such judgement for ATM failure, it is expected to generate a lot of interest in the matter.
The incident happened in May 2017, complaint filed in June 2017 and the verdict was passed recently.
It’s a reminder to our banker friends here to be more careful in loading Cash in ATMs especially before consecutive holidays to escape such penalty as well as customer dissatisfaction.
Courtesy N Sankarapandian Natarajan in SBI Pensioners group💐🙏
Various coaching centres continue to mushroom in different parts of the country. While many provide their students with exposure to good material and teaching staff, several others make lofty claims but fail to deliver.
In what could be possibly construed as a warning to such institutes, a medical coaching centre was sued by a former student who claimed that it did not prep him well enough to crack the entrance test for AIIMS.
Before joining the course, Sankara was given an entire list of topics that would be covered. Additionally, he had enrolled at the centre on the assurance that renowned pathologist Dr Devesh Mishra would conduct classes.
However, for the entire duration that Sankara was at the centre, Dr Mishra never conducted any class. Furthermore, he alleged that the institute didn’t cover all the topics that were mentioned in the syllabus.
Sankara mentioned the above incidents in his petition to the District Consumer Forum. Additionally, he added that due to the centre’s negligent behaviour not only was he unable to clear the AIIMS entrance examination but also wasted his time and money. The coaching fees that Sankara had paid was approximately Rs 45,000.
On November 15, 2018, the District Consumer Forum ruled in favour of Sankara and held the institute responsible for keeping Rao ‘disgruntled and dissatisfied,’ and ordered it to return the fees of the student along with a compensation of Rs 32,000.
The order by the consumer forum read, “The opposite parties are only coaching institutes, and when they promise a certain standard, it should be observed carefully. That the complainant should obtain a seat in AIIMS is certainly not their responsibility, but the path towards the flat goal should not be hindered by not delivering.”
In 2013, Abhivyakti Verma, a student who was preparing for her HSC exams, took on the Oxford Tutors Academy, an Andheri-based tutoring centre, for failing to provide promised services. The consumer court ruled in her favour, and the centre was slapped with a fine of Rs 3.64 lakh.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)
“Death of Policyholder due to Malaria after Mosquito Bite is an accidental death and hence Insurance Company is liable to pay the sum assured.”
In an interesting Case of National Insurance Co. Ltd. V/s Mosumi Bhattacharjee, (R.P. No.1270/2016), a question came before the National Commission to decide whether death of a Policy holder due to Malaria after a mosquito bite can be termed as accidental Death ?
Facts in short.
1. Late Mr. Debashish Bhatacharjee, the husband of the Complainant took the home loan from Bank of Baroda and along with it, he also availed facility of Term insurance like policy by name “Bank of Baroda Loan Suraksha Vima”, issued by the National Insurance Co. Incase of an accidental death, the policy amount was to be paid to the claimants
2. During the subsistence of the Policy, the Policy holder died due to Malaria and hence his legal heirs (LRs) applied to the Insurance Company fir getting the sum assured.
3. But the Insurance Company turned down the claim on the ground that Malaria itself is a disease and not an accident. Hence the LRs filed the complaint before the District consumer forum, which was allowed in their favour. Hence the Insurance Company filed the appeal in state commission, which was also rejected and hence the matter came to national Commission.
1. The National Commission upheld both the judgments of lower foras and observed that the Policy does not define the Term “Accident”. It relied upon the definition of Accident given in oxford dictionary, wherein it is defined as “An Accident is something that happens unexpectedly and not planned in advance and causes injury”.
2. Thus no one can predict about the mosquito bite and it can happen anywhere and anytime, like an accident. It relied upon the earlier judgment of Matbarsingh V/s Oriental Insurance Co.) wherein it has been held that Snake-bite, dog-bite, frost-bite are also accidents. It rejected the argument of the National Insurance company that Malaria itself is a disease and not an accident.
A) I feel this is an important judgment. Few days back, at least a person in every family was suffering from Dengue / chikungunya and Malaria. Few patients were succumbed to death due to such diseases.This judgment may be helpful to such families. Obviously terms of Policy, if any, will play an important role.
B) This decision also underlines the importance of having Term Insurance like policies. Consult an expert in this field.