Consumer forum order against holiday club over unfair trade practice upheld

Consumer forum order against holiday club over unfair trade practice upheld

Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 18

The Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Punjab, has upheld an order penalising a holiday club for unfair trade practice.

In September 2019, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum had directed Genial Holiday Club of Chandigarh to refund a sum of Rs95,751 paid by the complainants, Bhupinder Singh Batra and his wife Kawal Jit Kaur, both residents of Patiala, for membership of the club that offered holiday accommodations at various locations. In an ex parte decision, the consumer court had ordered the club to pay Rs10,000 as compensation for litigation charges and harassment while terming the matter an unfair trade practice.

In their complaint, the couple had stated that after collection of the membership amount, they were informed that the club would charge an annual maintenance from them, though no such information was mentioned on the company’s website.

The company was reluctant in refunding their amount after which they requested it to book two studio apartments in Manali, which they stated, were substandard. The couple claimed that the company changed the hotels after repeated reminders but those too were not good enough. Feeling harassed, they demanded a refund of their membership fee, which the company declined. Following this, the couple moved the district forum for redressal of their grievance.

The firm, while appealing against the order in the Commission, argued that the order passed by the forum in allowing the complaint was illegal, void and without appreciation of the facts, documents and evidence on record. It stated that it nowhere mentioned about the star rating of any property in memberships and that studio apartments were never rated by any hotel association of India.

However, the Commission upheld the order while observing that the club had failed to list its owned properties in the membership certificate. It added that no contract or agreement was executed with the consumers and that the membership certificate was an eyewash to grab their clients’ hard-earned money. It also pointed at the company’s casual behaviour and observed that it failed to respond to emails sent by the complainants.

The Commission found the firm deficient in rendering its service.

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