Consumer Issues: Jet Airways Told To Pay Offloaded Passenger

Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (MSCDRC) ordered Jet Airways to refund the ticket price to a Mumbai passenger it had offloaded from an Ahmedabad-bound flight and also pay Rs30,000 in compensation and litigation costs within one month.

 

Shirish Shah, the passenger, had boarded the flight on 1 December 2011 with a boarding pass and had occupied an allocated seat as a bona fide passenger, but was humiliated before other passengers and crew members.

 

In April 2012, Shah, a senior citizen, approached the MSCDRC and sought compensation alleging that he was humiliated by the airline. The airline maintained that the complainant was provided with a standby boarding pass and he could not be accommodated on the flight as no seat was available. The airline further contended that the complainant was offered a seat on the next flight, but he declined it. It also contended that the complainant’s claim for compensation be rejected, as he had already accepted compensation of Rs2,000.

 

MSCDRC, however, held that the airline cannot brush such serious issues aside as mistakes and shirk their responsibility towards bona fide passengers. It directed the airline to refund the ticket price—a sum of Rs3,384—to Mr Shah, along with interest at the rate of 10% per annum from November 2011, the time he booked the ticket.

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Loans: Strictures against Mahindra Finance

N ational Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission passed strictures against Mahindra Finance for using its financial muscle to delay refund to a customer, Sneha Waikul, in a car loan case.

Sneha Waikul had applied for a loan from Mahindra & Mahindra Finance Services to purchase a car. The company asked her to sign on a blank paper while applying for the loan. Later, Rs2.84 lakh was sanctioned, to be repaid in 36 equated monthly instalments of Rs10,170 each, for which post-dated cheques were obtained by the company. Ms Waikul paid 17 instalments amounting to Rs1,72,809, after which there was a default in repayment. So the company forcibly seized the car through its ‘recovery agents’, without giving a notice. Ms Waikul then contacted Mahindra Finance and was asked to clear the entire outstanding loan at one go by paying Rs2,13,798. Ms Waikul then filed a complaint before the Central Mumbai District Forum. The company contested it.

 

The Mumbai District Consumer Forum directed Mahindra Finance to refund Rs1,72,809 paid by Ms Waikul, along with 9% interest from 3 December 2009, till repayment, and awarded costs of Rs5,000. The company appealed to the Maharashtra State Commission but the appeal was dismissed.

 

Mahindra Finance then filed a revision petition before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission which directed the company to first pay Rs7,000 to enable Ms Waikul to make arrangements to contest the revision. The Commission also passed strictures against Mahindra Finance for using its ‘financial muscle’ to delay the matter, and dismissed the revision with further costs of Rs25,000 payable by the company to Ms Waikul.

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Banking: RBI Nod to Self-attestation of Documents

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) relaxed KYC (know your customer) norms allowing self-certification of documents needed for opening bank accounts. RBI has asked banks to “allow self-certification; accept a certified copy of the document by mail/post” for account opening. Banks have also been asked not to seek fresh documents if an existing KYC-compliant customer of a bank desires to open another account.

 

For periodic updating of KYC, RBI told the banks not “insist on physical presence of the customer” and to also not seek fresh proof of identity and address in case of no change in status for ‘low risk’ customers. If customers are unable to comply within a time period, ‘partial freezing’ may be introduced.

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