Accused of duping a couple on the promise of providing a work permit for Malaysia, the Chandigarh district consumer disputes redressal forum has directed a city-based immigration company to pay Rs. 50,000 compensation to a couple.
Moved by the "sordid tale of a gullible couple", the forum presided over by PL Ahuja directed Sector 34-based Ganga Immigration and Education Services Private Limited to also pay back the Rs. 1.8 lakh spent by Reena Pandey and her husband Rahul Pandey, residents of Dashmesh Nagar, Kharar, along with Rs. 11,000 as cost of litigation.
"The immigration company gave a rosy picture of working conditions in Malaysia to the complainants and gave false promises of food, accommodation, insurance, over time and air fare and a salary of 1,200 to 1,500 MR (Malaysian ringgit) [about Rs. 25,000] but they did not fulfil their promise. We find that there is sufficient evidence of deficiency in service and unfair trade practice."
The Pandey couple in their complaint said they had approached the company for getting work permit for Malaysia in hope of a better life. The payment was fixed at Rs. 1.5 lakh for each applicant, and they paid Rs. 25,000 in October 2012. They were promised a handsome salary for two years with all facilities.
When they reached Malaysia on December 26, 2012, on a tourist visa, they were told it was difficult to get work permit, but assured that their visa would be converted into work category in 15 to 30 days by their employee.
"The Malaysian employer took our passports for getting the work permits on December 27. We were made to stay in a room shared by two men and even asked to pay for the stay. We were asked to work in a courier company in night shift where [Rahul] worked as data entry operator and [Reena] was forced to do labour work. All other facilities like free accommodation, food, medical insurance and overtime [payment] promised by the company were not given," read the complaint.
It was with the help of the Indian high commission on January 3 this year that the couple got back to Mumbai.
The company said in its reply that there was no clause in the agreement of total refund in case they were unable to provide work to the satisfaction of the complainants. It also denied being bound to provide facilities.