17 July 2023 4:30 AM GMT
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Hyderabad – I presided by B. Uma Venkata Subba Lakshmi (President) allowed the complaint and directed Kolors Health Care Pvt. Ltd. (Kolors Health Care) to refund Rs. 2,15,000/- along with interest rate of 9%. It imposed a compensation of Rs. 20,000/- for mental agony and inconvenience caused to the complainant and a cost of...
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Hyderabad – I presided by B. Uma Venkata Subba Lakshmi (President) allowed the complaint and directed Kolors Health Care Pvt. Ltd. (Kolors Health Care) to refund Rs. 2,15,000/- along with interest rate of 9%. It imposed a compensation of Rs. 20,000/- for mental agony and inconvenience caused to the complainant and a cost of Rs.15,000/- on Kolors Health Care.
The Complainant visited Kolors Health Care after being attracted by their advertisements promoting cosmetic, slimming, and weight reduction services. She sought treatment for weight reduction, slimming, and skin treatment and paid Rs. 2,00,000/- in three installments on the same day. Later, she learned from her friends that the weight reduction procedure was not a permanent solution and visited the clinic to withdraw from the package and requested a refund. However, Kolors Health Care refused to refund the amount, citing a no-refund policy.
In an attempt to address her concerns and seek a refund, the complainant visited the Corporate Office of Kolors Health Care. However, Kolors Health Care assured her of better services at the Corporate Office and asked her to pay an additional amount of Rs. 30,000/- for transferring the package services.
Upon further investigation and reading scientific literature, she discovered that the weight reduction procedure followed by Kolors Health Care was not scientifically proven, and there was no permanent solution for weight reduction. Despite making phone calls and sending emails, the complainant did not receive a proper response. As a result, she filed a written complaint to the National Consumer Help Line.
Contentions of the Parties:
The Complainant stated that despite paying Rs. 2,30,000/-, she did not attend a single session and argued that Kolors Health Care's refusal to refund the money, despite not providing any service, showed gross negligence on their part. The Complainant also mentioned that due to the actions of Kolors Health Care, both she and her daughter experienced significant inconvenience, hardship, and mental distress, and suffered financial loss. Therefore, the complainant accused Kolors Health Care of negligence, deficient service, and unfair trade practices.
Kolors Health Care
Kolors Health Care refuted the allegations and argued that the complaint is not valid under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, and claimed that the complainant did not name the appropriate parties as the opposing parties. Moreover, Kolors Health Care asserted that it is involved in the weight reduction treatment business and provides the best services in healthcare and lifestyle.
It also stated that the complainant paid Rs. 2,00,000/- for a package that included weight loss, slimming, and beauty treatments. After attending one session, the complainant sought another package for her 12-year-old daughter. However, the counselor declined to treat the daughter due to her age. Subsequently, the complainant approached the Corporate Office to seek treatment for her daughter and an amount of Rs. 30,000/- was paid specifically for the weight loss, beauty treatment, and slimming package for the daughter, not for transferring the complainant's treatment.
Moreover, it claimed that it is customary for their counselors to explain and advise customers about the treatment procedure's consequences and effects before starting the treatment. The complainant agreed to and accepted these terms and conditions, as evidenced by the declaration signed by her. Kolors Health Care maintains that positive results can only be achieved if the person strictly adheres to the counselor's instructions regarding diet, weight maintenance, and regular session attendance. It also asserted that the transaction between the complainant and Kolors Health Care was based on a civil agreement.
Observations of the Commission:
The District Commission in Hyderabad noted that the complainant had made the payment, and the complainant's daughter had sent an email requesting a refund of the Rs. 2,30,000/- paid for her mother's package treatments. Despite the complainant's attempts to communicate through email, there was no reply.
In response, the complainant's legal counsel sent a legal notice demanding a refund of the paid amount for the package. Kolors Health Care responded to the legal notice by offering an alternative solution i.e. to provide the option of exchanging the package for the complainant's relatives or friends.
Reliance was placed by Kolors Health Care on the Supreme Court case of Ravneet Singh Bagga Vs KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and argued that the complaint should be dismissed as there was no evidence of deficient service. However, the Commission determined that the facts of the present case were different from the referenced judgment.
Additionally, the Commission pointed out there was no proof that the complainant sought treatment for her daughter or made any additional payment for her treatment and thus concluded that the complainant had only attended one session after paying Rs. 2,30,000/- for the package. Moreover, it also found the clauses in the declaration form, signed by the complainant and framed by Kolors Health Care, to be one-sided, unfair, and unreasonable and observed that the inclusion of one-sided terms was considered an unfair trade practice under section 2(47) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, as it employed unfair methods or practices for marketing the treatments.
In conclusion, it observed that it is unacceptable for a service provider to charge for a service that was neither provided nor utilized. Moreover, collecting advance payments from customers and then refusing to refund the amount based on a self-serving clause stating that fees are non-refundable constituted both deficient service and unfair trade practices by the Health Care company.
Case: Smt. Reddy Siva Swarupa vs. Kolors Health Care India Pvt Ltd.
Counsel for Complainants: V.Gouri Sankara Rao
Counsel for Opposite Parties: P.Yasavi
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