A district consumer commission has directed a club to repay ₹1.04 lakh to senior citizens with 8% interest per annum for financial losses they incurred in two months of the order, failing which they will have to pay the same with 9% interest for non-fulfilment of services. The commission additionally asked the club management to pay ₹75,000 towards mental agony and litigation costs. The order was passed on a complaint by Banita and Sudhakara Mahapatra against Priority International Holiday Club Pvt Ltd and its three directors.
₹99,000 taken for 5-year membership
The Mahapatras were on a trip to Pune when their details were taken under the pretext of a survey. They were then asked to visit the club office to answer some queries and collect a gift as a token of appreciation. At the office, they were asked about their family members and financial position, among other queries. The Mahapatras were not interested in the club services and wanted to leave but were made to stay to collect the gift. In a confused state, they were made to take the club membership for which ₹99,000 was paid. They also signed documents without reading as they were in a hurry to catch a train.
Club management denied refund
When they complained to the club management later, they were denied a refund. Instead, they were told the membership of five years would give them a certain number of free stays every year. It was submitted before the commission that as per the membership, they are entitled to six nights and seven days stay every year, therefore as per terms of membership, they would have accumulated unused holidays for the remaining period of their membership which they could encash. While the Mahapatras got benefits for the first few years, the services were not up to the mark later on and they did not get the benefits of vouchers and US stay.
Couple suffered losses on US trip as club backed out
In the case of a US stay, they planned one with their son but were turned down as they “did not inform 45 days in advance”. Due to this, they had to suffer financial losses and had to go on their own. During the hearing, the commission observed that after the way membership was forced, complainants were satisfied with the transfer of benefits but were aggrieved with non-fulfilment of services later on. The commission also said that non-response on the part of the club when the tickets were booked would have surely caused much anguish to the complainants. Terming the conduct as a deficiency in service and unfair trade practice, it directed that compensation be paid.
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