Mumbai: A district consumer commission has directed a partnership firm that provides logistic solutions to pay an exporter ₹66.53 lakh with 9% interest after it released the consignment of diamonds without a release order to a Hong Kong-based company. The commission also directed ₹70,000 be paid for mental agony and litigation costs. The order was passed on a complaint by Darshan Jhaveri, proprietor Aashi Exports against BVC Brinks Diamond and Jewellery Services.
Jhaveri had for several years been sending consignments abroad
Into the business of import and export of diamonds, Jhaveri had for several years been sending consignments abroad through Brinks, which is a limited liability partnership firm into the business of logistical solutions. While doing so, it would choose the 'Hold and Release' option. Only after the payment came from the consignees were they asked to release the consignment. Consignments were sent this way from 2015 to 2018.
In Oct 2018, Jhaveri couriered an export consignment of cut and polished diamonds worth ₹66.53 lakh (according to the then prevailing dollar rate) to Hong Kong-based Rainforest Trading Company. Jhaveri asked to 'hold' the parcel till payment came through but it was sent. Later, the company informed that it was an oversight and they were trying to get the payments. When the payments did not come, Jhaveri filed a complaint with the consumer commission.
Brinks claims case beyond pecuniary jurisdiction
During the hearing, Brinks contended that the case should not be tried as it is beyond pecuniary jurisdiction, that in the terms and conditions of the bill it was mentioned that Brinks “agree to hold shipments until receipt of release instructions from any payment of service charges by an entity not a party to the contract. If brinks otherwise hold any shipment pending such release instructions, it does so as a courtesy only. Under no circumstances is Brinks liable for the consignee’s failure to pay any amount...”
The commission observed that the exporter was in south Mumbai, hence the commission was within its jurisdiction to decide the matter. On the terms and conditions it said that the same were in small print and did not have the signature of the exporter. On the practice of 'Hold and Release', it said that the relationship between the two has been of a 'consumer' and 'service provider' and not of a 'courtesy provider' and that there was a deficiency in service. It directed that the order be complied with in 45 days.
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