Noting that the travel portal and bus service were obligated to inform the complainant in advance about a change in route and offer alternative arrangements, the consumer commission ordered them to compensate a 69-year-old man, who had paid Rs 745 for a ticket, with Rs 2 lakh. This decision aimed to address the inconvenience and dissatisfaction caused, particularly considering the complainant's advanced age.
Passenger was dropped 50 kms away from city
Shekhar Hattangadi, a resident of Kandivali, was left 50 kilometers away from the city during his return journey from Surat in 2018, according to the complaint.
The commission, in its order, noted, “The complainant was required to travel arrangement on his own at odd hours and odd place to reach his destination. It caused mental agony and trouble to the complainant, who is senior citizen too. Therefore, the complainant is entitled to get compensation."
He bought the bus ticket via the travel portal Travekyaari.com. Upon lodging a complaint, he was informed that due to ongoing repairs on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Highway for several days, the bus driver had detoured from the main highway to Thane and beyond.
“It was bounden duty of the opponents to give prior intimation to the complainant about change in route and to provide alternate arrangement to avoid inconvenience and unhappy incidence considering advance age of the complainant. Hence, the opponents are liable to compensate the complainant,” the commission added.
Mantis Technologies Pvt Ltd, Paulo Travels Pvt Ltd, and Myron Pereira, the acting CEO of Paulo Travels, are mandated to provide the compensation. Additionally, the commission has instructed them to cover Rs 2,000 for transportation and court filing expenses.
What was the entire incident?
On November 12, 2021, Hattangadi brought his case before the Mumbai Suburban District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
In person, he conveyed that he had purchased a bus ticket online from the website on December 12, 2018. He highlighted that the correct pick-up point at Surat was not provided to him. Hattangadi asserted that he was forced to disembark from the bus midway, approximately 50 km on the outskirts of Mumbai. According to him, Paulo Travels failed to communicate the change in route, and the promised alternative arrangement and convenient route were not provided. Hattangadi claimed that Mantis Technologies Pvt Ltd apologised through email but did not accept responsibility. He emphasized the distress caused by having to travel on his own at midnight, resulting in trauma, agony, and both mental and physical stress. The commission underscored that the opponents did not dispute this fact.
“In fact, opponent no1 (Mantis Technologies Pvt Ltd) accepted this fault in their reply via e-mail. It has definitely caused mental and physical suffering, inconvenience and agony to an old aged person... It clearly shows customer-service provider relation between the parties and deficiency in service,” the commission added.