Staff Reporter

Coimbatore: The Coimbatore District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (CDCRF) has slapped a fine on two travel firms on charges of deficiency in service on organising a foreign tour thus causing mental agony to six persons. An order to this effect was passed by president of the Forum S.A. Sreeramulu and member K. Rathinam.

The six applicants, four from Tiruvarur namely Lakshminarayanan, Mahalakshmi, Venkatesh and Shanthipriya, and two from Coimbatore- M. Valliappan and V. Valliammal had approached Ms. Cox and Kings Limited and Ms. Holiday Travels Private Limited for a foreign trip.

The complaints, represented by Advocate J.V. George, stated that the travel firms failed to keep their commitment in organising the trip leading to cancellation twice. The complainants sought refund of Rs. 1.76 lakh to the fourth complainant and compensation to all the six applicants and also refund of the expenses incurred in staying at a hotel in Mumbai while waiting for the trip to materialise.

The travel firms in their affidavit contended that the forum had no jurisdiction to entertain the complainant since the business had not originated from Coimbatore as Cox and Kings Limited never had any office. They also contended that they could not be held responsible for delay or denial of visa by the consulates and added that the complainants were given options for other tours.

The forum accepted a reasonable explanation offered in terms of the delay in visa and the resultant agony of waiting in queue for a number of hours. Whereas with regard to the various other charges such as failure to annexe the photograph and not producing the bank statement with VISA application, the forum held the travel firms jointly responsible and directed them to refund Rs 1.76 lakh to the fourth complainant and to pay Rs. 25,000 each to all the six complainants as compensation for mental agony and Rs. 2,000 each as cost of litigation within two months.