Tribune press service

Ramkrishan Upadhyay

Chandigarh, February 19

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh ordered a travel agency, M/s SOTC Travel Limited, Sector 8, Chandigarh, to pay compensation of Rs 35,000 to a resident of Panchkula for failing to provide the services as promised.

The commission also ordered the company to pay 7,000 rupees to the plaintiff as legal costs.

In a complaint to the commission, Varinder Kumar Jain, a resident of Sector 15, Panchkula, said a representative from the travel company approached him with an offer, “The Summer 2019 Budget Tour 2019 Best of Switzerland 7 days”.

He deposited a sum of Rs2,68,916 with the firm for the plan and embarked on the tour from May 16, 2019 to May 22, 2019. He said he was promised Golden Pass Line Ride and scenic beauty from Gstaad to Montreux. However, the ride was not executed correctly and he was told to disembark after 2 stations at Château-d’oex. He only received an 18-minute journey, which otherwise was to be 1 hour and 21 minutes from Gstaad to Montreux.

Varinder said he emailed the company and received a cashback of Rs 4,200 after a delay of more than two months. He also alleged that other facilities were also not provided as promised.

Alleging that the act amounted to a lack of service and an unfair business practice, he filed a complaint.

The travel company denied all charges. The company said the complainant was never assured of the Golden Pass Line Ride from Gstaad to Montreux. Arguing that there was no service deficiency or unfair business practice on their part, the company requested that the complaint be dismissed.

After hearing the arguments, the commission, consisting of Chairman Rajan Dewan and members Surjit Kaur and Suresh Kumar Sardana, found the company guilty of the service deficiency.

“The plaintiff is fundamentally wronged for not having provided Golden Pass Line Ride from Gastaad to Montreux by the company. Since he was told to disembark just after two stations at Château-d’oex, he was deprived of the chance to experience the beauty. Thus, the company indulged in a service deficiency. No doubt, nowhere in the company’s documents was it mentioned that the ride was to end in Château d’Oex or Montreux. However, we are of the opinion that the opposing party, SOTC, is a leading name in the field of tour and travel arrangements and was therefore obliged to provide every detail to the clients to avoid any discrepancies at a later stage. . . Therefore, the travel agency’s act of not clearly mentioning the exact route (e.g. pick-up and drop-off stations) or travel time on the scenic Golden Pass Train is in itself sufficient to prove a defect in service as well as an unfair trade practice on its part,” the commission said in the order.

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