Airlines, travel agency asked to pay compensation for carelessness

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Ahmedabad, Apr 5 (UNI) The Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (CDRF) (Rural), Ahmedabad, has found Singapore Airlines and its local agent Varun Travels guilty of carelessness and deficiency in service and ordered them to jointly pay Rs 80,700 as compensation to a complainant here.

The CDRF also ordered to pay nine per cent interest to the complainant, Rohit Patel, from the date of the order till realisation. The forum also ordered the companies to pay Rs 5,000 as compensation for mental harrassment, inconvenience and the expenses incurred by Mr Patel.

Mr Patel, a businessman, had purchased a confirmed Singapore Airlines ticket from Varun Travels on July 17, 2004. He was to travel from Ahmedabad to New York via Singapore on July 28, 2004.

At the time of purchase, the ticket cost Rs 116,000 under a scheme that offered a discount for to-and-fro travel.

However, problem arose when the travel agent informed Mr Patel that the price of the issued ticket had increased and, according to the new fare sheet, he would have to pay Rs 227,000 to travel on the stipulated date and carrier.

Mr Patel inquired about the sudden raise in the fare. According to Singapore Airlines, the revised fare sheet had been sent to Varun Travels on July 17, 2004 itself and the agent was not authorised to issue tickets. The travel agency, on the other hand, claimed that it had not received the revised fare sheet when it issued the ticket to Mr Patel.

Neither the airline nor the travel agent took responsibility for the action. This led Mr Patel to cancel his ticket with Singapore Airlines at the last moment and get a confirmed ticket with Lufthansa Airlines from Mumbai which cost him Rs 186,000.

On return to India, Mr Patel approached the Consumer Education and Research Society (CERS), Ahmedabad. They filed a complaint against Singapore Airlines (Mumbai and Ahmedabad) and Varun Travels.

Mr Patel had claimed Rs 70,000 as the difference between the fares of Singapore and Lufthansa Airlines and Rs 10,700 for the to-and-fro fare from Ahmedabad to Mumbai to book the Lufthansa ticket. He also claimed Rs 5,000 as compensation for mental harassment and the inconvenience caused and another Rs 5,000 as costs.

UNI MP DB JT BD1610

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