Mumbai: Consumer court directs travel firm to refund for cancelled trip citing Covid

Mumbai: Consumer court directs travel firm to refund for cancelled trip citing Covid

Kesari Tours had first promised replacement trip and refund but later refused citing ‘force majeure’

Ashutosh M ShuklaUpdated: Saturday, January 21, 2023, 09:55 PM IST
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Mumbai: Consumer court directs travel firm to refund for cancelled trip citing Covid | Representative pic/ Pixabay

Mumbai: The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (Central Mumbai) has directed Kesari Tours Pvt Ltd and others to refund Rs 2.20 lakh with 6% interest per annum for a trip to Japan cancelled by it due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The firm had cited ‘force majeure’ mentioned in its terms and conditions. However, the Commission said it was unilateral as there was no signature of the complainant and hence the case law cited to deny the refund didn’t apply. 

Mental agony and litigation cost also to be paid

The Commission directed the refund and interest on it from the date of complaint till its realisation, besides a compensation of Rs 35,000 towards mental agony and litigation cost.

The order was passed by Commission president SS Mhatre and member MP Kasar on a complaint of Jotsna Joshi against the travel firm and six others.

Ms Joshi had booked an eight-day trip to Japan beginning April 2020 under the firm’s scheme ‘Japan with Cherry Blossom’. Due to the pandemic, all international tours were cancelled and Kesari informed her that she can either book another tour in India or get the refund. She agreed for a tour to Gangtok and Sikkim and the tour operator arranged it under ‘Darjeeling Gangtok Pelling’ worth Rs 66,300 between May 23 and May 31 the same year. 

She was promised a refund of the balance amount in seven to eight days. However, despite assurance, the firm didn’t issue a refund and kept delaying it. They were also not able to conduct the Sikkim and Gangtok tour.

Due to the pandemic, their offices remained closed so Ms Joshi tried to contact telephonically for a refund. A sales executive from the Mahim branch assured her that the entire amount would be refunded by the end of that year or in January 2021. When that didn’t happen, she issued a notice and sought refund with interest and followed up with a consumer complaint.
The firm later cited the ‘force majeure’ clause and said no refund shall be payable and that the complainant is bound by the terms and conditions. It also cited a National Commission order wherein it was a party.

The Commission, however, directed the refund on account of deficiency in service, besides other reasons.

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