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Reliance communication – excess charging case

Written By Views maker on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 | 1:50 AM

BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL

FORUM, COLLECTORATE CAMPUS, COIMBATORE-18.

Present: Thiru R.DHANDAPANI, B.Sc.,B.L., President

Thiru K.RATHINAM, M.A., Member

Tmt.S.SARASWATHI, B.Sc., Member

C.C.NO.374/2009

Thursday, the 30th day of June, 2011

P.SRILAKSHMI, w/o R.Prakash,

42 -1,KRG Nagar 4th Street,Ward No.72,

Ganapathy (w),Coimbatore - 641 006. .... Complainant

... Vs ...

1.The Authorised Representative,

M/s RELIANCE COMMUNICATIONS LTD,

K.R.Complex,1295,Sathy Road,

Ganapathy (PO),Coimbatore - 641006.

2.The Authorised Representative,

M/s RELIANCE COMMUNICATIONS LTD,

Alankar Building,551,D.B.Road,

R.S.Puram,Coimbatore -2.

3. The Authorised Representative,

Customer Care Division,

M/s RELIANCE COMMUNICATIONS LTD,

H Block 1st Floor,Dhirubai Ambani Knowledge City,

Navi Mumbai - 400710, Maharastra.

4. The Proprietor,

KRISHNA COMMUNICATION,

M/s Reliance Communications Ltd,

Authorised Outlet,K.R.Complex,1295,Sathy Road,

Ganapathy (PO),Coimbatore - 6. Opposite Parties

This case coming on for final hearing before us on 27.6.2011 in the presence of M/s.S.Radharamanan, Advocate for complainant and of M/s.Ramani & Shankar for the opposite parties 1 to 3 subsequently they remained absent and set exparte and the fourth opposite party called absent and set exparte and upon perusing the case records and hearing the arguments and the case having stood over to this day for consideration, this Forum passed the following:

ORDER

THIRU R.DHANDAPANI, PRESIDENT

Complaint under Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

The averments in the complaint are as follows:

1. The complainant obtained broadband net connection by remitting security deposit of Rs.3500/- with the fourth opposite party on 31.3.09. The opposite parties promised that the net connection would be provided immediately. The opposite parties 2 to 4 are the branches of the 1st opposite party and the 4th opposite party is the authorized outletting unit of the above opposite parties. However the net connection provided on 4.4.09 but suddenly from 10.4.09 the net connection was not at all working. For the complaint of the complainant to the executives of the opposite parties there was no response. But on 12.4.09 she received a phone call from a third opposite party stating the net connection was cut of due to alleged heavy usage and she has to pay Rs.4000/-. It is pertinent to note that neither any instruction manual nor other instructions were supplied to the complainant regarding the procedures and conditions for usage of the net connection by the opposite parties. Hence the question of heavy usage of the broadband connection does not arise at all. Without any notice are providing opportunity of being heard to the complainant the opposite parties have cut off the broadband connection which is an unfair and restrictive trade practice. When the complainant contacted the third opposite party through email she received a reply on 14.4.09 directing her to pay a sum of Rs.5,193.80p as her dues which is a false claim. For further email reminders of the complainant there was no response. Instead she received an email from the third opposite party stating the claim of Rs.7,111.34p was waived and the complainant was remit to Rs.535.60 towards monthly bills which is unjustified when the broadband connection itself had been cut off on 12.4.09 as per the version of the opposite parties. Whileso, the second opposite party sent a legal notice dt. 1.7.09 with a false claim of Rs.655.06p and threatening to initiate actions against the complainant if the amount is not paid. The very unlawful acts of the opposite parties amount to unfair trade practice and deficiency in service. Without prejudice to her rights and to avoid threats from the opposite parties the complainant was forced to remit Rs.700/-. When the complainant demanded the opposite parties to repay the security deposit paid by her they refused to return it to the complainant. The acts of the opposite parties have caused mental agony and financial loss to the complainant. Hence she caused a legal notice to be issued to the opposite parties on 10.7.09. There was no response from the opposite parties. But the represented of the second opposite party threatened the husband of the complainant in his office. Further the third opposite party sent demand letter dt.18.7.09 and 18.8.09 making false claims. Hence this complaint. The opposite parties may be directed to refund the security deposit of Rs.3500 collected from the complainant with interest at the rate of 24%p.a. from 31.3.09 till the date of repayment and refund a sum of Rs.700 that has been wrongly collected from her by them, they may be also directed defer all the bills from 12.4.09 and to pay a sum of Rs.3,00,000/- towards compensation for mental agony etc. caused to her besides a cost of Rs.5000/-.

The written version allegations of the opposite parties 1 to 3, in brief, is as below:

2. The complainant applied for a postpaid broadband connection on 30.3.09 and opted for Rs.650 plan. For the said purpose she has purchased High Speed Data card (HSD) from the fourth opposite party on payment of Rs.3500 which is an outright purchase and is not a security deposit made by her. No further sums has been paid by her to the opposite parties. The HSD card was activated on 31.3.09. The credit limit was only Rs.500/-. However the complainant’s usage was very high owing to the fact that she has using the internet to chat to Australia and in the circumstances on 10.4.09 the opposite parties made a request to her to make an interim payment to enjoy un-interruption service. However the complainant did not make any payment. On 13.4.09 she addressed email seeking particulars about her broadband usage and it was provided to her immediately on 14.4.09. On 16.4.09 she wanted further clarifications and it was replied to by the opposite parties on 20.4.09 even thereafter the complainant did not make any payment. In the meantime, the first bill for the complainant was generated on 18.4.09 for a sum of Rs.7391 covering the period 31.3.09 to 17.4.09 for data usage of 3621MB. The due date for payment was 6.5.09. But the complainant did not make payment and hence her connection was temporarily barred due to non payment of bill. During the period of March, April 2009 on account of a problem in the system of the opposite parties, the mobile Directory Numbers – MDN were not automatically barred even after usage over and above credit limits due to a failure in the backup system. Therefore, the opposite parties decided to waive off the bill amounts for such period for the customers and a sum of Rs.7,114 was waived in the case of the complainant and she was requested only to pay the balance amount. Even thereafter the complainant did not pay the balance amount. The opposite parties sent replies to her on 25.6.09 and 30.6.09. Thereafter there was no reply from the complainant. The subsequent bills were generated on 18.5.09 and 18.6.09 for the sum of Rs.258.15 and 119.38p respectively. These bills reflecting the charges towards rentals and not for usage. The total amount outstanding as per the bill dt.18.6.09 was Rs.700 which was payable by 6.7.09. After much explanation, the complainant has made payment of the said amount only on 8.7.09. Thereafter, the complainant continued to avail the services of the opposite parties and in respect thereof, bills dt.18.7.09 and 18.8.09 were generated which remain unpaid till today. The amount of Rs.3500 by the complainant to the 4th opposite party was not a security deposit and in any event none was collected by these opposite parties. Hence there is no question of refund because HSD card purchase is an outright purchase by the complainant and, therefore, cannot be surrendered. The complainant, after having enjoyed a complete benefit of waiver for a huge sum of Rs.7,114/-, is greedy for more and is trying to arm-twist opposite parties further to waive of the entire sums and avail of free service without making any payment. The complaint is driven by malafide. It is specifically denied that the services rendered by opposite parties were deficient. The complaint is, therefore liable to be dismissed.

3. The 4th opposite party received the notice from this Forum on 7.10.09 but he failed to appear before this Forum on the hearing date. Hence he was called on 2.11.09 in Open Forum found absent and set exparte.

4. The opposite parties 1 to 3 failed to file Proof Affidavit. Their counsel reported no instructions. Hence notice was ordered to them. The above opposite parties failed to appear and filed Proof Affidavit.

5. With regard to second opposite party paper publication was made in one issue of Makal Kural for their appearance on 5.5.11. However, third opposite party failed to appear on 5.5.11. He was called absent and set exparte.

6. Thereafter, the opposite parties 1 to 4 remained exparte after filing of the written version of opposite parties 1 to 3.

7. The points that arise for consideration in this complaint are:-

1. Whether the opposite parties have committed

deficiency in service?

2. If so, what relief the complainant is entitled to?

POINTS No.1 & 2:-

8. The grievance of the complainant is that the opposite parties have committed deficiency in service on the following scores:-

  1. when the Net connection was not working from 10.4.09, after installation on 4.4.09, the opposite parties unlawfully demanded Rs.4000/- and disconnected the broadband connection without any notice to her thereby causing sufferings to her;
  2. the opposite parties have collected a sum of Rs.700 from her when she was not used the broadband connection cut off;
  3. the opposite parties have refused to refund the security amount of Rs.3500 paid by her;

9. In support of her claim, the complainant has filed Ex.A1 (series) the email correspondence she had with the opposite parties. A perusal of the above document clearly reveal that the complainant has requested the opposite parties to provide details has to how the charges are claimed when the broadband connection has already been disconnected in the previous week. A perusal of the above document further reveals that the opposite parties, without furnishing the details required by the complainant, went on claiming further amounts from her which is a clear case of deficiency in service to the customer.

10. A perusal of Ex.A3 reveals that the opposite parties have caused a legal notice to be issued to the complainant on 1.7.09 demanding dues to the extent of Rs.655.06p without furnishing any details and, threatening to initiate legal proceedings against her.

11. A perusal of Ex.A4, receipt dt.8.7.09, supports the contention of the complainant that she had been forced to pay an amount of Rs.700/- in view of the threatening activities of the opposite parties.

12. Ex.A5 is the legal notice of the complainant dt.10.7.09 addressed to the opposite parties seeking details and her grievances. She has further requested therein to refund the deposit amount of Rs.3500/- etc. failing which she would be forced to take suitable action through the Consumer Forum.

13. Ex.A6 to A8 acknowledgement cards reveals that the opposite parties have received the above notices but they have not complied with them or sent any reply to the complainant .

14. Failure to reply to the notice of the customer is also a case of deficiency in service. Since, they have not sent any reply to the above legal notice, it has to be presumed that they have accepted the allegations made therein.

15. A perusal of Ex.A9 and A10, bills dt. 18.7.09 and 18.8.09, reveal that the opposite parties have committed further deficiency in service demanding amount of Rs.231.28 and 651.32p respectively without furnishing any details to the complainant.

16. Though the opposite parties have filed a written version stating that the amount of Rs.3500/- was collected from the complainant towards sale of high speed data card to her and the complainant exceeded the credit limit etc. they have not submitted any evidence, muchless acceptable evidence before this Forum in support of their claims. Hence, we do not find any force in their contention.

17. The evidence submitted by the complainant have categorically established that the opposite parties have committed deficiency in service by charging amounts from her without furnishing details when the broadband connection had been disconnected within six days of the provision of the connection to her and failed to refund the security deposit inspite of her repeated requests thereby causing financial loss and sufferings to her.

18. From the above facts and evidence, it stands proved that the opposite parties have committed deficiency in service and the complainant is entitled to compensation. Points 1 and 2 are answered accordingly.

19. In the result, the complaint is allowed. We direct the opposite parties jointly and severally

a. To refund the sum of Rs.3500/- collected from the complainant towards security deposit with interest at the rate of 24% p.a. from 31.3.09 till the date of payment;

b. To refund a sum of Rs.700/- being the amount wrongly collected from her;

c. To defer all the bills from 12.4.09;

d. To pay a sum of Rs.25,000/- towards compensation for mental agony and other sufferings caused to the complainant due to their deficiency in service, and

e. to pay a sum of Rs.1000/- towards cost of the proceedings

within a period of one month from the date of this order failing which the complainant is at liberty to execute this order u/s.25 and 27 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Pronounced by us in Open Forum on this the 30th day of June, 2011.

(Sd/-…) (Sd/-…) (Sd/-..)

(K.RATHINAM) (S.SARASWATHI) (R.DHANDAPANI)

Member Member President

List of Exhibits marked for the complainant:

1. Ex.A1/1-4-09 to Demand Letter copies of E-Mail demand sent to the 3rd opposite

30-6-09 party vide their customer care departments and their E-Mails.

2. Ex.A2/18-6-09 Copy of Bill issued by the 3rd opposite party.

3. Ex.A3/1-7-09 Copy of Advocate notice issued by the 2nd opp.party

4. Ex.A4/8-7-09 Copy of payment receipt issued by the 4th opp.party.

5. Ex.A5/10-7-09 Copy of Advocate notice issued by the complainant along with postal receipt (4 Nos)

6. Ex.A6/14-7-09 Acknowledgement card signed by the 1st opp.party.

7. Ex.A7/14-7-09 Acknowledgement card signed by the 2nd opp.party.

8. Ex.A8/14-7-09 Acknowledgement card signed by the 4th opp.party.

9. Ex.A9/18-7-09 Copy of Bill issued by the 3rd opposite party

10.Ex.A10/18-8-09 Copy of Bill issued by the 3rd opposite party with address cover.

(Sd/-…) (Sd/-…) (Sd/-..)

(K.RATHINAM) (S.SARASWATHI) (R.DHANDAPANI)

Member Member President

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