HT Image
HT Image

Need to check unfair terms of tour and travel industry

PUBLISHED ON OCT 19, 2020 11:21 PM IST

This week I want to refer briefly to a recent order of the apex consumer court, to highlight the unjust terms and conditions imposed on consumers by the tour and travel industry and the urgent need for the consumer protection regulator constituted under the Consumer Protection Act of 2019, to step in and put stop to all such unfair and inequitable terms.

The apex consumer court’s order centres around a claim for refund made by a consumer following cancellation of his trip on account of the Swiss Embassy’s refusal to grant him a tourist visa. Here, the consumer’s contention was that the travel agency collected Rs 60,000 from him on May 23, 2013 as the booking amount and subsequently, on August 21, the remaining amount of Rs 1,92,970, despite knowing that on august 19 his visa application had been rejected and that he would therefore not be able to travel. Worse, later when he sought a refund, he was told that as per their terms and conditions, he was not entitled to any refund.

The travel agency in turn claimed that they had got to know of the rejection of the visa application only on August 26 and as per their cancellation policy, the consumer was not entitled to any refund for cancellation seven days prior to the date of departure.

The apex consumer court said the agency cannot usurp the money paid by the consumer, particularly when he had not availed of their services in respect of the tour. However, while the lower consumer courts had ordered refund of the entire amount paid by the consumer, the apex consumer court allowed the tour agency to retain Rs 30,000 on account of the fee spent on the visa application and other administrative expenses and ordered refund of the remaining amount with 7% interest.(Makemytrip (India) Pvt Ltd Vs Vijendra Mathur, RP NO 1877 of 2018, date of order: August 27, 2020)

Consumers have for long suffered injustice, financial loss and mental agony on account of unreasonable terms in consumer contracts and have had to wage protracted legal battles for justice. Consumers were particularly at a disadvantage on account of the absence of a law to curb such unfair terms.

Now the new consumer protection law fills the gap in this area. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, defines unfair consumer contracts as those that cause significant change in the rights of consumers . One of the examples provided, says: “Imposing on the consumer, any unreasonable charge, obligation or condition which puts such consumer to disadvantage” is an unfair contract.

So the consumer watchdog -- the Central Consumer Protection Authority(CCPA) -- has to now regulate consumer contracts in the hospitality, travel and tourism sectors and ensure fair play. I particularly refer to the tour and travel industry because of the large number of consumer complaints emanating from unreasonable contract terms and the fact that unlike sectors such as insurance, telecom or housing, there is no sector regulator here.

Interestingly, the Competition and Markets Authority in the United Kingdom launched a concerted campaign last year against unfair and opaque contract terms vis-à-vis the holiday and travel industry.

The two examples of such unfair terms that the Authority quoted is highly relevant in the Indian context too because here also, consumers suffer huge financial loss when circumstances beyond their control such as sickness or death in the family force them to cancel a trip

Terms that allow a business to take large, upfront deposit , but refuse refund on cancellation of the trip, irrespective of the amount the business is losing or the reason for the cancellation, is unfair, said the Authority. Similarly, when a business insists on a large cancellation fee which bears no relation to the actual losses it experiences from the cancellation, such a condition is unfair, it said..

The consumer protection regulator in India too needs to take up such campaigns to end unfair contracts.

---

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
A smoke rises from fire at Serum Institute of India in Pune, India January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer(REUTERS)
A smoke rises from fire at Serum Institute of India in Pune, India January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer(REUTERS)

BCG, Rotavirus vaccine production to be hit after fire at Pune's SII facility

Written by Prashasti Singh, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 04:32 PM IST
The impact will be a result of the financial losses suffered after the fire at an under-installation building of the SII plant at Manjari, the SII officials said.
Close
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar is under fire over the recent directive against offensive social media posts.(HT_PRINT)
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar is under fire over the recent directive against offensive social media posts.(HT_PRINT)

‘Talibani’: Opposition slams Nitish Kumar over order against offensive posts

By Avinash Kumar | Edited by Abhinav Sahay, Patna
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 04:18 PM IST
  • A directive by the Bihar police said it was imperative that appropriate action should be taken against persons putting social media posts having offensive or abusive tenor.
Close
BJP national president JP Nadda speaks at 'Booth Adhyaksh Sammelan', in Lucknow on January 22. (PTI)
BJP national president JP Nadda speaks at 'Booth Adhyaksh Sammelan', in Lucknow on January 22. (PTI)

Scope for growth, no nepotism in BJP: Nadda tells party workers in Lucknow

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Smriti Sinha
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 04:15 PM IST
Addressing the party booth presidents of Lucknow district on the second and final day of his visit to the city, Nadda told them that the sky was the limit for them when it came to growth within the party
Close
The mangled remains of the car after the accident on the Talwara-Hajipur road in Mukerian sub division on Friday. (HT Photo)
The mangled remains of the car after the accident on the Talwara-Hajipur road in Mukerian sub division on Friday. (HT Photo)

4 killed as car, bus collide in Punjab’s Mukerian

By HT Correspondent
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 03:39 PM IST
Car driver reportedly lost control while overtaking another vehicle and rammed into the private bus on the Talwara-Hajipur road.
Close
BSF said the Pakistani rangers confirmed that the youth had been detained after crossing over. (Siddharaj Solanki/ Hindustan Times File Photo)
BSF said the Pakistani rangers confirmed that the youth had been detained after crossing over. (Siddharaj Solanki/ Hindustan Times File Photo)

Caught entering girlfriend’s home, shamed Rajasthan youth flees to Pakistan

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Abhinav Sahay, Barmer
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 03:00 PM IST
  • n the missing complaint, family members expressed apprehension that the boy might have crossed to Pakistan since the family lived very close to the Indo-Pak international border and they had relatives in Pabni village in Pakistan.
Close
Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa. (ANI)
Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa. (ANI)

Karnataka: CM Yediyurappa makes changes in Cabinet to contain dissent

By Sharan Poovanna
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 03:04 PM IST
The changes were made less than a day after his government distributed and reshuffled several portfolios among ministers who were sworn in on January 13
Close
The raids are being conducted in connection with the PMC bank scam.
The raids are being conducted in connection with the PMC bank scam.

PMC Bank fraud: ED raids 5 locations, including BVA party chief’s Mumbai office

By Vijay Kumar Yadav & Ram Parmar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 02:43 PM IST
The anti-money laundering agency is carrying out searches as part of their probe in the alleged diversion of funds from HDIL and its subsidiary companies to the Viva group companies
Close
Arnab Goswami. (HT Photo)
Arnab Goswami. (HT Photo)

Arnab Goswami chat leaks: Congress stages protests across Maharashtra

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 02:32 PM IST
In Mumbai, a protest was held outside Republic TV’s office in Lower Parel followed by a rally at Jambori Maidan in Worli. Key Congress leaders led marches in their respective districts in Maharashtra
Close
There is strong speculation that Rajib Banerjee may join the BJP after his resignation from the state government.(@RajibBaitc/Twitter)
There is strong speculation that Rajib Banerjee may join the BJP after his resignation from the state government.(@RajibBaitc/Twitter)

TMC plays down Rajib Banerjee’s resignation amid murmur of brewing dissent

By HT Correspondent, Kolkata
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 03:38 PM IST
  • BJP’s Barrackpore Lok Sabha member and Rajib Banerjee’s former colleague in the TMC, Arjun Singh said the young minister would be welcomed into the BJP if he decides to join.
Close
This photo provided by Bangalore News Photo shows the remains of a truck carrying explosives that detonated in Shivamogga, 300 kilometers (250 miles) southeast of Bengaluru, India, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. The truck detonated at a stone-crushing unit in southern India, leaving several dead, police said Friday. (Bangalore News Photo via AP)(AP)
This photo provided by Bangalore News Photo shows the remains of a truck carrying explosives that detonated in Shivamogga, 300 kilometers (250 miles) southeast of Bengaluru, India, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. The truck detonated at a stone-crushing unit in southern India, leaving several dead, police said Friday. (Bangalore News Photo via AP)(AP)

Police arrest quarry owner, dynamite supplier after Shivamogga blast: Minister

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Kanishka Sarkar, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 02:01 PM IST
Chief minister BS Yediyurappa told ANI that five people died in the explosion though earlier there were reports of eight people being killed.
Close
The powerful sand mafia has begun to use rural roads for the lucrative illegal trade due to a strict vigil on highways in Bihar(HT image/Representational)
The powerful sand mafia has begun to use rural roads for the lucrative illegal trade due to a strict vigil on highways in Bihar(HT image/Representational)

Bihar sand mafia attacks NHAI toll plaza staff for stopping overloaded trucks

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Abhinav Sahay, Sasaram
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:26 PM IST
  • The sand mafia in Bihar was highly frustrated after the state government’s recent ban on transportation of sand and stone chips, by trucks with 14 or more wheels, to prevent overloading.
Close
Representational image. (HT PHOTO)
Representational image. (HT PHOTO)

Mumbai: 60 cases of new Covid strain detected so far, says civic body

By Mehul R Thakkar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:03 PM IST
Over 25,000 passengers have arrived in the city from the United Kingdom (UK), Middle East, Europe or South Africa in the last month.
Close
Jaipur: A medic administers the first dose of Covishield vaccine to a frontline worker.(PTI Photo)
Jaipur: A medic administers the first dose of Covishield vaccine to a frontline worker.(PTI Photo)

Rajasthan exceeds Covid vaccination target in 1st round, wastage percentage low

By Jaykishan Sharma | Edited by Abhinav Sahay, Jaipur
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:45 PM IST
  • Chief minister Ashok Gehlot claimed that Rajasthan was the only state in India to be put in the green category in the detailed evaluation done by the World Health Organization due to better performance on all the parameters of vaccination.
Close
Mhada houses are in great demand as they cost less compared to private builders and have clear land titles. Image used for representational purposes only.(Pramod Thakur/HT Photo)
Mhada houses are in great demand as they cost less compared to private builders and have clear land titles. Image used for representational purposes only.(Pramod Thakur/HT Photo)

Mhada to draw lottery for over 5600 houses in Pune division

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Deepali Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:45 PM IST
The winners of the lottery will also be notified through text message and the list of the accepted applications will also be made available online on the website.
Close
IT department claims to have found undisclosed transactions worth more than <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>1,400 crore during raids at the three firms.(PTI File Photo)
IT department claims to have found undisclosed transactions worth more than 1,400 crore during raids at the three firms.(PTI File Photo)

IT raid at Jaipur jeweller reveals secret tunnel with art jewellery, antiques

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Abhinav Sahay, Jaipur
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:22 PM IST
  • The IT department sleuths also found an alpha-numeric secret code on each item found in the tunnel. Attempts are on to crack the code.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP