Telephones asked to pay compensation

CHENNAI, MARCH 24. A consumer forum has ordered Chennai Telephones to pay compensation of Rs. 25,000 (in addition to Rs.5000 towards the litigation costs) to a subscriber for the inordinate delay in shifting a line.

The amount should be paid from the coffers of the Chennai Telephones first and can be recovered from the salary of the erring officials later, the forum said.

"Depriving the complainant of telephone facility for 20 months, shows the callous attitude of the opposite parties and their officials," the forum observed. A.G. Prabukumar of Ayanavaram, in his complaint to the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chennai (North), said that in July 2000 he had applied for shifting the line. He had also paid a bill to facilitate the transfer. However, the telephone was not shifted and the department kept sending bills to him. which he was not liable to pay.

Even after the shift, the telephone was under non-payment disconnection with only incoming call facility for 15 days and then disconnected. The Chennai Telephones officials said the shift was an inter-exchange one. Due to a clerical error committed in the commercial section of the north-west zone, the installation address was wrongly mentioned. After correction, the telephone was installed.

The subscriber had to pay the rent and other charges till the date of effecting the shift. He failed to pay the subsequent bills. Hence, the line was put under partial non-payment disconnection.

Following his representation a rental rebate was given. The complainant failed to pay some bills issued after the shift. The department waived the bills till April 15, 2002.

The forum Bench consisting of the President, P.Perumalappan and Member, V.M. Thandapani, said a shift of phone from one zone to another normally took a couple of months. But in this case, the department took 20 months for shifting. This inordinate and unreasonable delay would amount to deficiency of service.

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