Forum penalises the company for a total of Rs6,000 for providing insufficient accommodation despite early bookings
The Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Bengaluru, has fined travel website MakeMyTrip.com for causing inconvenience and humiliation to one of its customers. The Forum also asked the travel site to pay Rs5,000 as 'compensation' and Rs1,000 towards 'cost' to the customer.
Arjun Ramaprasad and his wife, both Bengaluru residents, complained to the Forum about humiliation and inconvenience caused to them due to inappropriate arrangements made by MakeMyTrip.com.
Soon after their marriage, the couple planned a pleasure trip to (Port Blair) Andaman & Nicobar Islands from 7th to 14th November last year. They made advance bookings through MakeMyTrip's Bengaluru branch by paying Rs21,000 on 4 August 2010 and the balance of Rs36,400 on 27 September 2010.
Mr Ramaprasad's case is that the entire trip organised by the company caused "humiliation and inconvenience" as the couple had to wait four hours at the airport; accommodation was made after waiting for five hours at the hotel reception. Further, Mr Ramaprasad alleged that the accommodation had no attached bathroom, the itinerary was shuffled; the food was not properly arranged... he has a long litany of woes.
Mr Ramaprasad served a legal notice on the company dated 22 December 2010, and asked a sum of Rs2 lakh as compensation and cost. Though the company neither replied nor paid any compensation to the company, hence he approached the forum.
In the consumer forum, MakeMyTrip, refuted the allegations and argued that arguments by the complainant are false and frivolous. They submitted that except the couple all other passengers were "happy and satisfied" with the trip.
The Forum observed that the company denied some allegations, while admitted some, stating that it is difficult to handle a large group of 160 members.
The Forum said in its order that waiting time at the airport was beyond the control of the company as it was due to bad weather. The Forum also considered other "shortfalls" such as the Bharatang Trip, was under the 'optional tour' category and was organised by a local vendor. "The allegation of the complainant (Mr Ramaprasad) is baseless. And there is no deficiency in the service on the part of Op (the operator, MakeMyTrip) to compensate for that," the Forum said, while passing the order.
Mr Ramaprasad also alleged that the company did not obtain tickets for the journey from Port Blair to Havelock Island, which was to be made by MV Makruzz, a luxury cruise. Instead they were made to sit on the seats meant for the crew of MV Makruzz vessel.
MakeMyTrip.com denied these allegations stating that such changes were accepted by customers as a part of the terms & conditions. The Forum observed that such a shortfall was beyond the control of the company.
The Forum accepted the main allegation—the complaint of waiting for long hours at the reception and not providing a room with an attached bathroom. "When the programme (was) organised by Op in a large group, that too booked well in advance, it is their responsibility to arrange all necessary arrangements prior to landing the group at the destination. Because everybody needs to rest and freshen up immediately after the journey. There is no justification from the Op for waiting for a long time at the reception counter to allot the rooms to the passengers, (even though) it may be a large group," the consumer forum sated.
The Forum added, "When (the operator) is not able to organize the trip and not able to handle the crowd, nobody compelled them to do it."
While passing the final order, the Judge said, "Therefore, in our view, the Op caused deficiency in service in not providing proper facilities and the trip was not properly organised which caused inconvenience, humiliation to the complainants though the other travellers opined that the trip was good and organised in a proper manner."
The forum fined Make My Trip to pay Rs5,000 as compensation and Rs1,000 as cost to Mr Ramaprasad within 30 days of the order, failing which the company will have to pay interest of 10% pa from the date of the order, which was passed on 12 July 2011.
"I don't think that our economy is sinking. There is a temporary slowdown," Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission said. However, he added that if the world economy is facing some difficulty, then India would get affected
New Delhi: The economy will grow by 8.2% in 2011-12, slower than the previous fiscal but it is not 'sinking' despite global headwinds, reports PTI quoting Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
He said though the economy is facing headwinds, "I don't think that our economy is sinking. There is a temporary slowdown."
However, he said if the world economy is facing some difficulty, then India would get affected.
"We will grow at 8.2% this fiscal. It will be worse than 2010-11 but 8.2% is very high growth rate...I think, yes there is slight slowdown, I don't think it is permanent slowdown. In the next year 2012-13 why should we not go back to over 8.5% plus economic growth," he said.
As for inflation, Mr Ahluwalia admitted that it is a sticky affair. "I think at the end of the year, inflation will be lower. This time inflation was more difficult to control," he said yesterday.
Under impact of high interest rates, factory output fell to 5.6% in May this year from 8.5% in the same month last year, as the manufacturing and mining sectors fared poorly.
While finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had pegged economic growth for the current fiscal at around 9% in his budget speech, the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) both subsequently lowered their projections.
The central bank has hiked key policy rates 11 times since March 2010 to curb demand and tame inflation. In its recent quarterly review on Tuesday, RBI hiked its short term borrowing and lending rates by half a percentage point.
Nifty may continue to remain weak
The market was range-bound and the indices stayed below yesterday's close through the entire trading session today. The Nifty's intra-day high and closing levels were the lowest over the past 24 days till today. Today's fall was on large volumes. The Nifty is currently trading below the 50-day moving average of 5,520. We expect the Nifty to remain weak over the next few days.
The domestic market opened weak on global cues as the RBI's surprisingly high rate hike on Tuesday continued to weigh on sentiments. The Nifty opened 54 points lower at 5,492 and the 30-share BSE Sensex resumed at 18,301, down 131 points from its previous close. Reliance Industries, State Bank of India and HDFC led the losses as financials, realty, auto and oil & gas stocks were on the sellers' radar.
The indices made insignificant highs early on, as the Nifty touched 5,512 and the BSE Sensex moved to 18,328. The indices traded sideways for a major part of the session as other stocks like Jaiprakash Associates, Sterlite Industries and Hindalco were also under selling pressure. ITC was the exception, gaining over 2% following the announcement of 25% rise in quarterly earnings.
Volatility associated with the expiry of the July futures and options (F&O) contract was also evident. There was a little recovery on the release of food inflation data for the week ended 16th July that was marginally lower at 7.33%, as compared to 7.58% in the previous week. But this did not give enough momentum to lift the indices into the green.
While the Nifty registered its intra-day low of 5,476 in the mid-morning session, the Sensex touched its low at 18,189 in late trade. The indices closed in the red for a third consecutive day with the Nifty losing 59 points to end at 5,488 and the Sensex ended the day at 18,210, down 223 points, extending its losses to 3.5% over the three days.
The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was 461:1233.
The broader indices suffered too. The BSE Mid-cap index declined 0.88% and the BSE Small-cap index tanked 0.93%.
The BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods index (up 0.95%) was the lone sectoral gainer. But while ITC gained, the other FMCG major Hindustan Unilever dropped nearly one per cent on concerns about slackening volume growth and leaner margins. BSE Metal (down 2.47%), BSE Realty (down 1.80%), BSE Oil & Gas (down 1.63%), BSE IT (down 1.62%) and BSE Bankex (down 1.43%) were also negative.
ITC (up 2.61%), BHEL (up 1.20%), Hero Honda (up 1.10%), Bajaj Auto (up 0.56%) and Bharti Airtel (up 0.26%) were the major gainers on the Sensex. The main losers on the index were Jaiprakash Associates (down 3.46%), Reliance Infrastructure (down 2.95%), Hindalco Industries, Sterlite Industries (down 2.92% each) and HDFC Bank (down 2.84%).
The top Nifty gainers were ITC (up 2.79%), ACC (up 2.62%), Ranbaxy (up 1.95%), Grasim Industries (up 1.55%) and Ambuja Cement (up 1.45%). The key losers on the index were Reliance Infra (down 4.37%), JP Associates (down 4.22%), IDFC (down 3.14%), Reliance Capital (down 3.12%) and Jindal Steel (down 3.05%).
Food inflation fell to its lowest level in 20 months at 7.33% for the week ended 16th July as compared to 7.58% in the previous week. The decline could also be attributed to the high rate of 18.56% in the corresponding period a year ago, a phenomenon dubbed the 'high base effect' in economic parlance. The latest figure is the lowest since separate data for food inflation was first released in November 2009.
The debt ceiling imbroglio in the US resulted in the Asian pack settling lower for the third day. The Chinese government's move to prohibit banks renewing loans to local financing vehicles contributed to the decline in financial stocks in mainland China.
The Shanghai Composite declined 0.54%, the Jakarta Composite fell 0.68%, the KLSE Composite slipped 0.40%, the Nikkei 225 sank 1.45%, the Straits Times shed 0.12%, the Seoul Composite was down 0.85% and the Taiwan Weighted lost 0.57%. Bucking the trend, the Hang Seng was a touch (0.13%) higher today.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of shares worth Rs64.66 crore on Wednesday. Domestic institutional investors were also net buyers, pumping in Rs409.34 crore.
Pharma major Strides Arcolab today said it has received the US health regulator's nod to market Acarbose tablets, an anti-diabetic drug, in the American market. The company has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for marketing of Acarbose tablets in strengths of 25mg, 50 mg and 100 mg in the US market.
According to March 2011 IMS data, the size of the US market for Acarbose tablets is around $21 million. Strides Arcolab ended 0.89% lower at Rs373 on the NSE.
Retail chain Shoppers Stop plans to invest up to Rs400 crore to expand its presence in the country with new stores across formats over the next four years. The company, which presently has a presence in 19 cities, plans to have a presence in 25 cities in the next three years. The stock fell 4.85% to Rs412.95 on the NSE.
Gold finance company Muthoot Finance today said it will raise up to Rs1,000 crore through the issue of debentures. The company is in the process of issuing non-convertible debentures (NCDs) of Rs 1,000 face value each and has filed a draft prospectus with the stock exchanges for the same. The scrip closed at Rs186.95, down 0.13%.