Consumer Issues: Builder Must Give Written Possession Notice to Buyer
There are certain statutory as well as contractual obligations on a builder. If a builder does not give the notice, as required by law or under a contract, he cannot raise a defence about limitation.
Collin and Cheryl Paes had booked a villa at Navelim (Goa) in a complex known as D’Silva Residency to be developed by Homemakers. 
According to the sale deed (dated 13 October 2008), a total amount of Rs40 lakh had to be paid for the construction and sale of the villa ad measuring 210sq metres, along with proportionate undivided right on the land.
The agreement stipulated that the purchaser would have to take possession within 30 days of the builder giving a written intimation that the villa was ready for occupation.
The builder kept extending the date of possession and also increased the price. Finally, when he failed to hand over possession of the villa by 31 January 2014, the Paes couple had a legal notice issued to the builder. As this too failed to evoke any response, the couple filed a complaint before the Goa State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
The Commission noted that there was a dispute in respect of the agreed cost of the villa. When the written agreement mentioned the price of Rs40 lakh, no oral evidence could lead the builder to claim that the agreed price was higher, as it would be against the provisions of the Evidence Act. The Commission, accordingly, held the builder liable to pay interest on Rs63,11,870 at 14.5% from the date of the complaint up to date of payment, along with compensation of Rs25,000 for mental trauma and litigation costs of Rs5,000.


Situation Remains Unchanged
This refers to Vinayak Shrivastava’s letter “How to Collect Refund” (Moneylife
5 February 2015).
I would like to add the results that my consumer complaints cell achieved while dealing with a complaint about online/telly-seller, way back in 2011. Attracted by a print advertisement from Naaptol, offering a mobile with 80% discount to the price, a senior citizen placed the order on telephone. In the ad, a figure of Rs6,000/- was mentioned as the price, followed by “Cut it out” and the offer price was written as Rs1,200/-. The packet was delivered to him. The phone worked fine; but the sealed box; which contained the Chinese phone; did not specify the MRP, which is mandatory for on all packaged commodities in India, with manufacturer’s name address and customer care EID/phone number, etc. All these were missing. The purchaser approached me about how this could have happened and how could he verify that, indeed, it is heavily discounted. For sure, the piece was obtained from the grey market. Luckily, the consigner’s (it was received through courier) address of Malad (Mumbai) was found in the despatch paper.
I, therefore, lodged one complaint against Naaptol with the ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) for a misleading print advertisement and another complaint with the Controller of Legal Metrology against the telly-seller Naaptol and the dealer at Malad. The dealer’s premises at Malad were raided by the Legal Metrology inspectors and they seized mobile handsets worth Rs1,47,000/- from the dealer’s godown, which were found to be without MRP or manufacturer details. After following due procedure, ASCI too upheld the complaint and directed Naaptol to stop issuing such misleading ads. No other action was taken against Naaptol. The department of Legal Metrology, on enquiry, said that when their inspectors visited their premises at Navi Mumbai no goods were found stocked there. Naaptol’s defence was that they were merely working as a BPO for the dealers of various products and, thus, they were not responsible for the absence of printed MRP on the packages sold by dealers.
Strangely, this plea was accepted by the Legal Metrology department. Even the evidence, that credit card payment was made in the name of Naaptol, did not impress the authority to hold them responsible for any legal violation. This appears to be a big lacuna in the system which may allow all online sellers, like Snapdeal, Ebay, or others of their ilk, to get away from the clutches of law under the plea that they are merely acting as BPOs, on behalf of sellers. We even represented the matter to the consumer affairs/protection department of the Union government but, till today, the situation remains unchanged. 
Mohan Siroya, by email

Side-Effects of Statins

I am a regular reader of Prof Hegde’s articles in Moneylife ever since I became a subscriber of the magazine, about four years back. I am a retired engineer aged 63 years. I was working as general manager in a well-known public sector company at Mumbai.
Please convey my sincere congratulations to Prof Hegde and appreciation for the very enlightening articles that he has authored in the maga-zine. I really appreciate the bold approach. In the current context, I also believe that drug compa-nies and some of the medical professionals have adopted a very commercial approach. Healthcare, in true sense, has become secondary. 
I really admire his knowledge, thinking and writings. I feel treatment should be done by minimum medication and non-drug methods/approach should be maximised. I feel that drugs should be prescribed only where they are absolutely necessary. Side-effects of many drugs may be detri-mental, although I am not competent to comment on such matters.
Prof Hegde’s article (Moneylife, 16 April 2015) was very enlightening and it has raised alarm in my mind since I have been taking statins (Rosuvastatin 5mg) for the past two-three years. Considering the possible side-effects of such drugs, I would like to reassure myself whether it is really required in my case. 
In fact, I discussed this aspect with my doctor sometime back, after I read about the possible side-effects of statins in another article; but he was reluctant to change his view. As per the doctor, it has got more advantages than disadvantages.
I would humbly request you for re-evaluation, if possible, or maybe you can suggest someone who has got the same/similar kind of think-ing/mindset. I am located at Mumbai. In case Prof Hegde is not located in Mumbai (or nearby ar-ea), I can mail my history and scanned copies of reports for his enlightened evaluation. Alternately, he can refer me to a medical professional of Mumbai who has similar clarity/mindset. I shall be grateful for your understanding and support.
Arun Kumar, by email
We have forwarded the mail to Prof Hegde and you will hear from him directly. — Editor

Rough Guide Needed

This is with regard to “Buying Stocks Vs Equity Funds” by R Balakrishnan. In the first paragraph, there is a mention of ‘timing’ needed for lump-sum mutual fund investment. Can a rough guide or process be indicated on what factors to look for, to make this happen? 
Naresh Narasimhan, online comment

Licence not Valid?

This is with regard to “When the Going Gets Tough...” by Veeresh Malik. How does one identify whether it is an illegal toll booth or a valid one? The receipts can be faked and many toll booths do not provide computerised receipts.
I had faced a similar situation wherein I got a pollution control certificate from a petrol pump. It looked like a valid certificate with all the details. A couple of days later, I saw in the newspapers that the checking centre was shut down and the owner was arrested, as his licence was not valid for the past three years.
So, how does a common man know which are the valid places—be it a toll booth or a pollution-checking centre? 
My suggestion is that there should be a website which gives the list of toll booths by NHAI or state government and a similar listing of such pollution-checking centres.
Sudheer M, online comment


Shame on Such a Government!

This is with regard to “SEBI’s Lip Service on Governance” by Sucheta Dalal. There are over 75,000 depositors; most of them senior citizens who have no source of income other than interest on in-vestments in companies like Neesa, Phadnis and Helios & Matheson. These companies claim to have huge reserves/assets; yet, they refuse to pay investors their rightful interest or return the capital. What kind of governance do we have that such companies are allowed to get away with blatant dishonesty and swindling? What is Narendra Modi’s government doing about bringing such culprits to book? What faith can we place in the country’s justice system when their dishonesty is clear as daylight; yet, no step is taken towards retribution? Shame on such a government! 
Anita Pai Raiturker

Living Conditions of Masses

This is with regard to “Who Does the Modi Sarkar Really Represent?” by Sucheta Dalal. Looks like the time is ripe for a SWOT of sorts of the India Growth Story! Just speeches can no longer sustain people’s enthusiasm. Nor can expectations about the inflow of foreign capital or slogans like ‘Make in India’. Something ‘real’ has to happen at the ground level. The negative indications are coming from the approach of political leadership which has not risen beyond caring about winning elec-tions. The country should take advantage of the support received from Narendra Modi, Vinod Rai, Arvind Kejriwal, Sitaram Yechury and Raghuram Rajan, who have opened debates during this dec-ade, which can change the living conditions of the masses in India.
MG Warrier 

Transparent Disclosure?

This is with regard to “Relief for Property-buyers?” by SD Israni. It is really quite simple. Property-buyers must get transparent disclosure of carpet area in addition to built-up area. This way, the consumer can compare and decide whether he wants to buy more common built-up space or more personal space.
Ralph Rau



MG Warrier

1 year ago

The caption under contents, "Letter from the editor" need to be read as "Letters to the editor"

Winning Stocks
Picking good stocks in a bull market is difficult, as most stocks, deserving or not, have been pushed up to their multi-year highs. And, when the market corrects, all stocks suffer a sharp decline. In our Cover Story, we sifted through our database of 1,400-odd stocks to pick nine stocks that reported a substantial, and continuous, growth in earnings over the past four quarters, thanks to some advantage—of strategy, business model, or markets—that they enjoy. These companies operate in a niche market and have a well-diversified geographical presence. All of them have strong export performance which helps to improve even their domestic operations. Turn to page 30 for these nine stocks that appeared on our radar.
Controversies surrounding the Indian civil aviation industry continue. Dr Subramanian Swamy, in a letter to the prime minister (PM), alleges that Kalanithi Maran, the former owner of SpiceJet, entered into an ‘unholy agreement’ to transfer his holding to Ajay Singh at an undisclosed price. Surprisingly, the market regulator did not insist on an open offer. Will the PM order an inquiry into the SpiceJet deal, or will it end up in the court like the Jet-Etihad deal? Sucheta raises these and other questions in her Different Strokes section.
In her Crosshairs column, Sucheta writes on how the advertising industry, beneficiary of a strong, self-regulatory body, is working at damaging the Advertising Standards Council of India’s (ASCI’s) credibility. This may attract the government’s attention and given the lack of accountability of every statutory regulator, this may adversely affect us. Sucheta also reminisces about Madhusudan Daga, India’s finest gold expert, who led an eventful life and has just passed away.
As you would have noticed, we have an extensive new section, Stock Watch. As always, do write in to us with your feedback on what you think of it. Moneylife Foundation will be conducting an exclusive seminar titled ‘Stocks for Building Long Term Wealth’ on 23 May 2015 in Pune. Don’t miss it, if you are there.


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