Consumer Connect: 'RERA Act Provides Relief To Homebuyers Against Mischief,' Says Advocate Shirish Deshpande

Consumer Connect: 'RERA Act Provides Relief To Homebuyers Against Mischief,' Says Advocate Shirish Deshpande

Advocate Shirish Deshpande is chairman of the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Monday, October 02, 2023, 12:25 PM IST
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Consumer Connect: 'RERA Act Provides Relief To Homebuyers Against Mischief,' Says Advocate Shirish Deshpande | Representative pic

I had booked four return tickets to Delhi for travel in June 2023 by Go First flight. However, the airline cancelled all its flights from May 3 onwards and thereafter filed anapplication for insolvency. How can we get refund?

Mohan Deshpande, Thane

Go First airline has filed an application with NCLT for insolvency. However, the airline has also subsequently filed an application to permit it to refund the amount of about Rs593 crore to its 15.5 lakh passengers. NCLT has therefore issued a notice to the committee of creditors (CoC) to seek its views / comments on the refund plan submitted by Go First. So it is only after the CoC gives its no-objection to the refund plan that the airline will be able to refund your ticket amount.

I was in the process of booking a wedding hall for my daughter’s wedding in December 2023. I came across a wedding hall in Borivali where the owner informed me that I cannot get the caterer and the decorator of my choice and that there is a monopoly of caterer and the decorator. I enquired about their rates, which were exorbitant and well above market rates. Although I have now booked another hall, I want to complain against such a monopoly.

Anita Achrekar, Dadar

The policy of the wedding hall owner is a monopolistic as well as a restrictive trade practice. This is not permissible in law. It also violates your rights as a consumer as defined under Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (CPA). The CPA has defined consumer rights. One ofthem is the right to have a choice of service providers at competitive prices [Sec 2(9)(iii)]. Another consumer right is to seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers [Sec. 2(9)(v)]. Since the wedding hall owner is brazenly violating these rights and adopting unfair and restrictive trade practice not only in your case but in case of all consumers as a class, you should approach the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) in Delhi under Section 17 of the CPA against him.

Please email your complaint to the chief commissioner of CCPA at ccpadoca@gov.in. Needless to say that you will have to send along with your complaint documentary evidence in support of your allegation about the monopoly of the decorator and the caterer. On prima facie satisfaction, the CCPA will direct the investigation of the affairs of this hall through the local district collector. If after the investigations your allegations are proved, then the CCPA can direct the owner to discontinue such practice permanently. One such direction from CCPA will send the necessary message to all wedding hall owners.

I booked a 2-BHK flat in Goregaon in January 2022 based on the full page advertisement in the newspaper. We were also shown a sample flat, which was very attractive. Hence I paid an advance of Rs15 lakh and booked the flat. However, when the builder asked me to sign the agreement and pay a further amount of Rs10 lakh, I noticed that many amenities that were shown in the advertisement were not mentioned in the agreement. Even the sample flat shown to us was quite different. I therefore asked the builder to cancel the booking and refund my entire advance amount, which he refused, saying that as per the terms and conditions mentioned in the allotment letter, the entire amount is liable to be forfeited. What should I do?

Parag Hardikar, Goregaon

You need not worry. RERA Act provides relief to homebuyers against such mischief by builders. Builders often lure homebuyers by showing attractive amenities in ads with no real intention to offer the same. Attractive sample flat is another trap for homebuyers. Section 12 of RERA protects homebuyers who are victims of such false, deceptive ads or sample flats, which often are quite different from actual flats.

Section 12 provides that if the homebuyer has booked a flat based on advertisement making false claims or by builder showing deceptive sample flat and if he therefore wants to withdraw from the project, the builder has to refund the entire amount along with interest and compensation. In such cases, the builder’s terms and conditions providing for forfeiture of your deposit amount will not operate in the light of provisions under Section 12. Hence you should inform the builder in writing about Section 12 of RERA Act and demand full refund along with interest andcompensation for any loss you have suffered on this count.

If he still refuses, then you should file a formal complaint before MahaRERA Authority. For information on how to file a complaint, please visit the MahaRERA website.

(Advocate Shirish Deshpande is chairman of the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.)

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