A city-based consumer forum has directed a tours and travels agency, engaged providing visa-related services to pay a compensation of Rs.75,000 to a customer whose family was put to hardship during a foreign tour owing to variance in the validity period of the visas of some of the family members.

The 3rd Additional Bangalore Urban District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum passed the order on a complaint filed by Vimo James, a resident of J.P. Nagar.

Mr. James had approached Akshaya India Tours and Travels Pvt. Ltd. for obtaining visas for his family members to go to Singapore and Malaysia to celebrate Christmas between December 23, 2011 and January 1, 2012.

However, on reaching Singapore on December 24, three of his family members were told they could not enter the country as their visas had expired on December 19.

The complainant had charged the agency for this mistake, alleging negligence on their part in not mentioning the correct date of travel in the visa application form. As a result, money spent on tickets, hotel rooms and other facilities turned out to be a waste, the complainant stated, adding that the family’s intention to spend their holidays together was spoiled and that they were compelled to split.

Despite the agency’s repudiation of the petitioner’s complaint, a two-member bench of the forum charged the agency for causing inconvenience to Mr. James’s family.

The forum found that the agency had failed to fill the details of the “period of visa required” in the application form and had only mentioned 30 days as duration of visa requirement.

It observed that even if the complainant had been aware about discrepancies in the three visas, he could not have done much as bookings were completed prior to visa application. The forum held that the “agency should have taken care while filling travel details” in the visa application and directed the agency to pay an additional Rs. 5,000 as cost of the proceedings to the complainant.

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