For taking a Rupnagar resident for a ride by getting his son admitted to a college in the UK that had already closed down, the district consumer disputes redressal forum of SAS Nagar has directed an immigration consultancy firm to pay Rs. 1 lakh as compensation for unfair trade practices and deficiency in services. The forum, presided over by Madhu P Singh, also told the consultant, Videshyatra.com, based in Phase 2 of SAS Nagar, to refund Rs. 5.2 lakh along with 9% interest from July 2012 to complainant Sohan Singh.
Sohan had said that he approached Videshyatra.com in 2012 for admission of his son in a college in London. He claimed that he was asked to deposit Rs. 5.2 lakh towards course fee, processing fee and embassy fee, and his son was granted visa in September 2012.
But when his son reached Scott College of London, where he had been 'given admission' in a course of business and administrative management, the premises were locked. "A notice dated September 24, 2012, was pasted outside the college mentioning therein that repossession of the property had been taken, and the college had been directed to remove all goods, chattels and furniture from the property within 14 days. Following this, I approached the immigration consultants who assured me that my son would be given admission in some other college," said Sohan in his complaint. But that did not happen.
Videshyatra.com, denying deficiency in services in the reply, submitted that they were only to provide service to the son of the complainant and also to arrange visa and other formalities for getting admission in the college, which they had done.
But the forum, in its order dated December 31, held that "the immigration consultant acted as agent of the college, and they cannot take shelter under plea that in the event of closure of the college, the complainant is entitled to seek refund from the college and not from them."
"Since the son of the complainant has never joined the college as the same was not in existence, it was the duty of Videshyatra.com to verify the status of the college on the date of receiving the amount.
Knowing well that the college was closed, the immigration consultants, while following unfair trade practice, extracted the money from the complainant…" it added.