Can you sue a hotel if vehicle is stolen at free valet parking: SC will decide
New Delhi, Sep 20: Should a hotel be held liable in case a vehicle is lost of stolen from the complimentary valet services? The Supreme Court has decided to examine this and would adjudicate on the matter.
A Bench headed by Justice N V Ramanna agreed to hear the case after Taj Mahal hotel made a statement that one such guest has been compensated for the loss of his Maruti Zen.
The case was filed by one Sapan Dhawan. He said that he had gone for dinner at the Taj Mansingh Hotel in Delhi in 1988. When he returned after dinner and asked for the key, he was told that his car had been stolen.
The car was insured and the claim was settled. However the rights to recover damages from the hotel were withheld. Both parties claimed the hotel had failed in its duty to take care of the vehicle.
The insurer and Dhawan filed a joint complaint before the Delhi State Consumer Commission. The hotel urged the commission to reject the case as Dhawan could not be termed as a consumer as no money was charged from him for valet parking. Further the hotel said that there was a clear disclaimer that the the vehicle was being accepted at the owner's risk and the hotel would not be liable for theft or damage to the vehicle.
The commission after examining the dine in bills at the hotel rejected the hotel's argument. The commission said that the bill for the food was inclusive of the cost of valet parking services.
In its order the commission, ordered the hotel to reimburse the insurance company rs 2,80,000 along with a 12 per cent interest rate. It also ordered that Rs 50,000 be paid as litigation cost.
The hotel also failed in its attempt to get this order reversed before the National Commission. The commission said that merely stating that parking at owner's risk will not absolve the hotel of its liability.