Archive for the ‘Consumer’ Category.

REMEDY FOR FLIGHT DELAYS AND CANCELLATIONS

Many times while traveling by air, we face situations like delayed or cancelled flights, and feel helpless to deal with such situations. This article will highlight obligations of airlines towards its customers and customer rights in such situations.

OBLIGATIONS OF AIRLINES:
The following obligations are applicable to passengers traveling not only on scheduled flights but also on non scheduled flights and foreign carriers operating to /from India if flight is delayed or cancelled or both.

1. Facilities to be offered to Passengers:
If the passenger has checked in on time and if the airline expects a delay beyond its original announced scheduled time of departure or a revised time of departure of 2 or more hours then passengers shall be offered free of charge the following

a. Meals and refreshment in relation to waiting time.
b. Hotel Accommodation when necessary (including transfers).
c. Airlines shall pay particular attention to the needs of persons with reduced, mobility and any other person(s) accompanying them.

2. Compensation:
The passengers have right to get compensation along with facilities mentioned above, if flight is delayed or cancelled or both.

Flight delayed and cancelled:
a. An amount equal to 200% of booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, subject to maximum of Rs. 20,000/- in case airline arranges alternate flight that is scheduled to depart within the 24 hours of the booked scheduled departure.
b. An amount equal to 400% of booked one way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, subject to maximum of Rs. 20,000/- in case airline arranges alternate flight that is scheduled to depart more than 24 hours of the booked scheduled departure.
c. In case passenger does not opt for alternate flight , refund of full value of ticket and compensation equal to 400% of booked one way basic fare plus airline fuel charge subject to maximum of Rs. 20,000/-

Flight delayed:
If flight is only delayed, along with the facilities mentioned before, the passenger has right to get alternate flight as acceptable to the passenger or provide compensation in addition to the full refund of air ticket in accordance with the following provisions.
a. Rs. 5,000/- or booked one way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, whichever is less for flights having a block time of up to and including 01 hour.
b. Rs. 7500/- or booked one way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, whichever is less for flights having a block time of more than 01 hour, and up to and including 02 hours.
c. Rs. 10,000/- or booked one way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, whichever is less for flights having a block time more than 02 hour.
Note: No financial compensation shall be payable to passengers who have not provided adequate contact information (email id or Phone number).

NO OBLIGATION ON AIRLINES TO COMPENSATE:
The operating airline would not have any obligation to pay compensation in cases where the cancellations and delays have been caused by an Event(s) of Force Majeure i.e. extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the airline, the impact of which lead to the cancellation/ delay of flight(s), and which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken by airlines.

Such extraordinary situations are:
a.Political Instability
b.Natural Disaster,
c.Civil war
d.Insurrection or riot
e.Act of God
f.Explosion
g.Government Regulation or order affecting the aircraft.
h.Strike and labour disputes causing cessation
i.Slowdown or interruption of work
j.Meteorological Conditions
k.Security Risks
l.Cancellation or delay attributable to Ari Traffic Control
m.Any other factors that are beyond the control of airlines

PASSENGER REDRESSAL:
a. When affected by a cancellation or a long delay or both the passenger may complain directly to the airline in the event the airline has not provided the compensation and /or reasonable facilities as specified above.
b. The passenger may file the grievance on Air Sewa App or Portal.

YOUR LAST RESORT:
If the Airlines fail to fulfill the obligation to assist you and if you as a passenger are not satisfied with the resolution of grievance by air line and/or Air Sewa, the passenger has liberty to complain to Consumer Courts.

Authored by:
Adv. Shirin Yusuf
Associate,
MENTO ASSOCIATES.

JURISDICTION OF CONSUMER FORUMS AND COMMISSIONS

There has been a long-standing confusion as to whether the value of goods/services, as the case may be, or the compensation claimed in the complaint, alone will be considered to determine the pecuniary jurisdiction of the appropriate Consumer Forum.

In the landmark judgment delivered by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi, in the case of Ambrish Kumar Shukla & Ors. v. Ferrous Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd., the issue under consideration, which was res integra, was finally put to rest. In this case, it was decided that a perusal of Sections 21, 17 and 11 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, makes it clear that the aggregate of the value of the goods/services, as the case may be and the amount of compensation claimed in the complaint, if any, should be considered for determining the pecuniary jurisdiction of the appropriate Forum. The value of the goods/services, alone, cannot be considered to determine jurisdiction. Similarly, only the amount of compensation claimed in the complaint, if any, cannot be considered to determine jurisdiction. Therefore, the aggregate of the value of goods/services, as the case may be, along with the amount of compensation claimed in the complaint, if any, must be taken into account to ascertain the pecuniary jurisdiction of the appropriate Forum.

In the case of immovable property, the question that arises is, whether the market value of the flat/apartment/immovable property, or the price at which the same was bought by the customer must be considered to determine the pecuniary jurisdiction of the appropriate Forum. This was decided as, the price at which the flat/apartment bought, must be considered and not the market value of the same, as the latter is always subject to change and is therefore, rendered as highly unreliable, although the term ‘value’ used in the specific piece of legislation might suggest to be ‘market price’.

Where a class or representative complaint is instituted, the aggregate of the value of the goods/services, as the case may be, along with the compensation claimed, if any, in the complaint will be considered to determine jurisdiction. It was held that the whole object and purpose of a representative complaint would be destroyed if the value of the goods/services and compensation of only an individual customer was considered and not the aggregate of all the customers who have the same interest against the same respondent.

A plethora of cases, namely, Ravi Misra v. Amit C. Prabhu, etc, have followed the decision rendered in this case, and rightly so.

AUTHORED BY:
VISHNU P V
Associate,
MENTO ASSOCIATES.

COURT FEES FOR CONSUMER COURT MATTERS IN KARNATAKA

BEFORE DISTRICT FORUMS
a.For claim upto Rs 1 lakh:Rs 100/-
b.For claim above Rs 1 lakh upto Rs 5 lakhs:Rs 200/-
c.For claim above Rs 5 lakhs upto Rs 10 lakhs:Rs 400/-
d.For claim above Rs 10 lakhs upto Rs 20 lakhs:Rs 500/-

BEFORE STATE COMMISSION:
a.For claim above Rs 20 lakhs upto Rs 50 lakhs:Rs 2000/-
b.For claim above Rs 50 lakhs upto Rs 1 crore:Rs 5000/-

Consumer protection

The enactment of the Consumer protection Act 1986 was an important milestone in the history of the Consumer movement in India. The Act was made for the better protection and promotion of consumer rights through the establishment of Consumer Councils and Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies. These agencies include Consumer Forums at district level, State Commission at state level and National Commission at national level.

These agencies attempt to provide simple, inexpensive and speedy justice to the consumers with complaints against defective goods, deficient services and unfair and restrictive trade practices. In comparison to the proceedings in normal civil courts the proceedings before these agencies are faster and less technical. Many consumers prosecute their matters even without the assistance of advocates before these agencies. In Karnataka, the Bangalore Urban District Consumer Forum is located at Cauvery Bhavan and the State Commission is situated at Basava Bhavan near Chalukya Hotel.

Complaints where the value of goods or services and the compensation does not exceed Rupees twenty lakhs shall be filed before a District Forum and those between 20 lakhs and one crore shall be filed before the State Commissions and those exceeding 1 crore shall be filed before the National Commission.

Appeals against the order of District Forums have to be field before State Commissions and appeal against the orders of Sate Commissions have to be field before the National Commission.

Powers of State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

The Karnataka State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission is located at Basavabhavan, Bangalore. The commission consists of a president and two members. Any person who is aggrieved by an order made by the district forum may file an appeal against such order to the State Commission, within a period of 30 days from the date of the order.

Consumer complaints where the value of the goods or services and compensations, if any, claimed exceeds Rs. Twenty Lakhs but does not exceed Rs. One Crore, shall be filed directly to the State Commission.

The commission is empowered to call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer disputes, which is pending before or has been decided by any District Forum within the State, where it appears to the State Commission, that such District Forum has exercised a Jurisdiction not vested in it by Law, or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested, or has acted in exercise of its Jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.

The State commission may, at any stage of the proceedings, transfer any complaint pending before the District Forum to another District Forum within the state if the interests of justice so requires.