Aakash Institute fined ₹25K for not refunding entire fee
The district consumer disputes redressal forum has penalised Aakash Institute for not giving complete refund to a student.
The forum has directed the institute to refund ₹39,226 to the complainant and pay a litigation cost of ₹15,000 and compensation of ₹10,000 for the mental agony and harassment caused.
Dikshant Chauhan, 16, of Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh, took admission in Aakash Institute, Sector 34A, on April 18, 2018, for preparation of competitive examination and paid an amount of ₹56,920 to the institute.
It was alleged in the complaint that Dikshant attended the classes of Aakash Institute only for two days and on account of ill-health of his grandfather, had to shift to his native village in Himachal Pradesh. Accordingly, student’s father requested the institute to refund the fee of ₹56,920.
However, instead refunding the complete amount, they refunded only ₹17,694 and that too in two instalments. Thereafter, Dikshant’s father requested the institute to refund the balance amount of ₹39,226, but of no avail.
In their reply to the complaint, the institute stated that “the complainant is not consumer qua opposite party nor it falls under the definition of ‘consumer’.” They mentioned that the student and his father filled the admission form and furnished requisite information and after having fully understood the terms and conditions, signed it in acceptance thereof.
It was stated that “as per terms and conditions, tuition fee is refundable in accordance with the terms; however, registration fee is not refundable” and that “complainants are victims of their own wrong and neglect and now blame cannot be put on opposition party in order to gain undue advantage.”
The forum mentioned in its order how the opposite party was in “dominating position” and as such “manoeuvred” to get the signature of parents of students on pre-settled printed enrolment undertaking.
“This is nothing but an emotional exploitation and cannot be acquiesced. If any child, after joining the coaching institute, fails to cope up with the coaching schedule or for the reasons whatsoever, he cannot be penalised by way of forfeiture of his money, which has been deposited by his parents with such coaching centre. The coaching centres are entitled legally to charge fee only for the services, which they actually provide to the student and not more than that,” the forum mentioned.
The forum directed Aakash Institute to refund the balance amount of ₹39,226 to the complainants, after deducting ₹1,000, with interest of 9% per annum from the date of making such request, and to pay litigation cost of ₹15,000 and compensation of ₹10,000 for the mental agony and harassment caused to them due to its deficient act.