25 Sep 2023 11:30 AM GMT
Recently, the Indore District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission bench comprising of Balraj Kumar Paloda (President), Srimati Sadhna Sharma (Member) and Susri Nidhi Barange (Member) held Western Union liable of deficiency in service for an online money transfer service availed by the complainant for paying his college fees. The complainant contended that the transfer was not completed,...
Recently, the Indore District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission bench comprising of Balraj Kumar Paloda (President), Srimati Sadhna Sharma (Member) and Susri Nidhi Barange (Member) held Western Union liable of deficiency in service for an online money transfer service availed by the complainant for paying his college fees. The complainant contended that the transfer was not completed, and the money was not refunded, despite multiple attempts and communications with the company.
On November 23, 2020, Mr. Harshvardhan Pande (“Complainant”) initiated a transfer of Rs. 5 lakhs through Western Union's online platform to pay for his college fees. The transaction appeared to be successful, with the amount being duly deducted from the Complainant’s bank account and confirmed by Western Union through email correspondence. However, on the very same day, Western Union informed the Complainant via email that the transfer could not be completed, and they assured him that the amount would be refunded to his bank account within 2 to 7 working days. Subsequently, the Complainant decided to make another payment, this time amounting to Rs. 5,07,500, through Western Union's online channel on November 27, 2020, which was processed successfully. Despite repeated attempts and communications with Western Union, including telephonic conversations and emails, the Complainant did not receive a refund of the initial Rs. 5 lakhs.
In his pursuit of resolution, the Complainant went as far as obtaining a certificate from his bank, ICICI, confirming the non-reversal of the initial payment, which he promptly forwarded to Western Union. However, Western Union's response was far from satisfactory. Instead of addressing the issue and refunding the money as promised, Western Union's online support team insisted that they had already returned the amount. This left the Complainant with the suspicion that a mistake on Western Union's part might have led to the funds being transferred to another bank account, thus making it the company's responsibility to rectify the error and refund the amount. Aggrieved, the Complainant filed a consumer complaint in the Indore District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission.
The Complainant contended that he had initiated a legitimate transfer of Rs. 5 lakhs to Western Union for the sole purpose of paying his college fees. He argued that despite Western Union's initial confirmation of receipt, the company failed to complete the transfer and initiate a refund, causing him significant financial hardship and mental distress. The Complainant maintained that Western Union's online support team had not adequately addressed his concerns and instead insisted that the money had already been refunded.
Observations by the commission:
The District Commission noted that the complainant had presented a substantial body of evidence to substantiate his allegations. This included email correspondence between the complainant and Western Union, which confirmed the receipt of the initial payment. The District Commission observed that the evidence clearly established that the Complainant had initiated a transfer of Rs. 5 lakhs through Western Union for the purpose of paying his college fees. Western Union initially confirmed the receipt of this amount. However, on the same day, the Western Union informed the Complainant via email that the transfer could not be completed, contrary to their earlier confirmation.
Based on the evidence presented and the circumstances surrounding the case, the District Commission concluded that Western Union had violated ethical norms in its service delivery. The District Commission found that Western Union had engaged in unfair trade practices, leading to a deficiency in service, malpractice, and mental harassment of the complainant.
Consequently, the District Commission directed Western Union to refund the entire amount of Rs. 5 lakhs with interest at the rate of 12% per annum from the date of the initial transfer made by the complainant until the date of payment. Western Union was directed to pay compensation of Rs. 10,000 for the mental agony and distress the complainant experienced as a result of the company's actions. Western Union was also required to reimburse Rs. 5,000 as the cost of litigation incurred during the course of this legal proceeding.
Case: Harshvardhan Pande vs Western Union Financial Services
Case No.: RBT/CC/610/2021
Advocate for the Complainant: Aditya Mewara
Advocate for the Respondent: Ex parte