A South Mumbai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered Bharti Airtel to pay compensation and costs of Rs. 8,000 to a customer for not providing broadband connection to her as promised and causing mental and economic hardships.
Declaring the company deficient in service under the Consumer Protection Act, the forum’s President Sneha Mhatre and member DS Paradkar also asked the telecom company to refund with interest the amount she had paid them while registering for the service.
The customer Savina Crasto had filed the complaint in Feb 2017. As per her complaint, a representative of the company had approached her at her office and convinced her to enrol for a broadband connection by buying ‘Most Reliable Broadband plan’. After she completed formalities and paid a one-time-amount of Rs. 1,000 and security deposit of Rs. 500, the representative had informed her that the connection would be provided in another five days. The connection was however, not provided and being without internet connection, she could not fulfil her business commitments and as a result, she had to endure financial loss.
The company had opposed the complaint and told the forum that it is not empowered to deal with the complaint and that Crasto should have made a complaint under the Indian Telegraph Act. It also said that upon a survey, its technical team had found that the connection could not be provided in the particular area and hence it did not provide the service. They claimed that they had through a cheque they had returned Rs. 1,000 to her, but she had not accepted it. It further said that in the Terms and Conditions that Crasto had signed while enrolling for the service, a particular clause had stated that the company reserves the right to not provide the connection.
The forum said in its order that it is not ready to accept the argument of Airtel that due to technical feasibility issues it could not provide the service. It said that for such a big company with experience in providing a range of services, it was possible to render the service. The forum also noted that in the customer enrolment form many columns were left vacant and hence it could not be said that Crasto has accepted the terms and conditions. Crasto had denied having received any cheque from the company. The forum said that there is no proof provided by the company that such a cheque was sent. “The opposite party (Bharti Airtel) neither returned the amount taken for providing broadband service, nor provided the service,” it noted while declaring it deficient in service.