The Maharashtra State Consumer Commission last week directed a developer to pay compensation of Rs. 2 lakh to a Thane-based couple for cancelling their booking of a flat after the couple refused to pay Rs. 1,000 per square feet more than the booking rate.
“This is the best example of how the common man is exploited by builders,” the bench of presiding member SR Khanzode and member Dhanraj Khamatkar said while holding Nirmal Lifestyle Private Limited guilty of deficiency in service and of adopting unfair trade practice.
Dharmesh Jain, chairman and managing director of Nirmal Lifestyle declined to comment, but said they have decided to challenge the order before the National Consumer Commission.
In March 2009, Satish and Shilpa Kolhapure had booked a 1,200-square-feet flat at the developer’s Mulund project for Rs59.35 lakh. Two months later, the developer executed the agreement. Two days after that, the couple paid Rs1 lakh and sought an NOC from the developer for a loan of Rs50 lakh from SBI.
A week later, the developer issued a notice saying the couple owed them Rs17.2 lakh and had to pay up within 15 days, or shell out the extra money. The developer then cancelled the booking.
The developer argued they were justified in demanding the enhanced rate as the couple had defaulted in payment. The commission dismissed this saying facts show the developer tried to pressurise them into paying extra, in violation of the agreement’s conditions.