17 Nov 2023 2:06 PM GMT
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, South Chennai (Tamil Nadu) bench comprising of B. Jijaa (President), TR Shivakumar (Member) and S. Nandagopalan (Member) held Holiday4U liable for unfair trade practices for not refunding the full money to a senior citizen after his 8-night package tour to South Africa was cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic. The bench noted that Holiday4U...
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, South Chennai (Tamil Nadu) bench comprising of B. Jijaa (President), TR Shivakumar (Member) and S. Nandagopalan (Member) held Holiday4U liable for unfair trade practices for not refunding the full money to a senior citizen after his 8-night package tour to South Africa was cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic. The bench noted that Holiday4U only refunded only Rs 25,000/- of the total money of Rs 3,00,000/- paid by the complainant, thereby, making it liable for unfair trade practice.
Mr. K. Balakesari (“Complainant”), a retired senior citizen bought an 8-night tour package from Holiday4U for his travel to South Africa. He paid a total sum of Rs. 3,00,000/- on December 21, 2019, for this tour, which was scheduled to cover various cities in South Africa, including Johannesburg, Sun City, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Aquila Game Reserve, and Cape Town. However, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tour was cancelled in March 2020. Subsequently, the complainant sought a full refund of the amount he had paid to Holiday4U. Holiday4U initially accepted the request for a full refund via email on March 10, 2020. Despite this acceptance and assurance, the refund process was significantly delayed. The Complainant received only a partial payment of Rs. 25,000/- on December 25, 2021, and the remaining balance of Rs. 2,75,000/- was not refunded as agreed upon.
The complainant continued to follow up with Holiday4U, sending multiple emails and even a legal notice, requesting the refund of the outstanding amount. However, Holiday4U did not respond to the legal notice or take any action to refund the balance. Feeling aggrieved, the Complainant filed a consumer complaint in the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, South Chennai, Tamil Nadu (“District Commission”). Holiday4U did not appear or present any contentions in the case. They were proceeded against ex-parte.
Observations by the Commission:
The District Commission held that Holiday4U had engaged in unfair trade practices. It noted that despite the assurances made by the company to refund the entire amount of Rs. 3,00,000/- before April 28, 2020, they had only refunded a partial sum of Rs. 25,000/-. The District Commission further referred to the fact that despite receiving the legal notice, the company remained unresponsive and failed to take the necessary actions to process the refund, as initially agreed. This lack of responsiveness was taken as a clear indication that the company had not fulfilled their commitment to refund the balance amount, leaving the complainant in a state of financial loss and suffering.
Consequently, it directed the company to refund a sum of Rs. 2,75,000/- to the complainant. Further, the company was directed to pay Rs 5,000/- to the complainant for the cost of the proceedings. The company was given a strict eight-week deadline from the date of the order to complete the refund to the complainant.
Case: K. Balakesari vs Holiday4U
Case No.: Consumer Complaint No.407/2022
Advocates for the Complainant: Govind Chandrasekhar, Sharath Chandran, Praveen Purohit T.M. Mano, Harikrishnan R.
Advocate for the Respondent: None (Ex parte)
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