Sisters from Mysuru win refund for tour of Europe they cancelled | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: Two sisters from Mysuru sued a tour operator in Bengaluru after they were refused a refund of over Rs 3 lakh which they had paid for a European tour package that they could not undertake after the nationwide lockdown was imposed.
A Bengaluru consumer court, taking note of the pandemic situation, ordered the operator to refund the full fare besides interest. It also ordered a compensation of Rs 20,000.
Siblings AK Naveen Kumari, 59, and Devika Bopaiah, 43, from Vani Vilas Mohalla in Mysuru had decided to tour Europe in May 2020. Drawn by attractive offers, the women approached Kesari Tours Pvt Ltd in Bengaluru on February 24, 2020 and paid Rs 3,49,818 for flight tickets, accommodation, and visa expenses.
However, when Covid began to spread across the globe, the sisters, on March 12, 2020, asked the firm to cancel the trip and demanded a full refund. But with the nationwide lockdown being imposed from March 24, their pleas fell on deaf ears; the firm failed to respond properly to their phone calls and emails.
Eventually, much to the shock of the women, Kesari refunded only Rs 25,000 (Rs 12,500 to each of the complainants) and issued a credit shell certificate for Rs 3,24,818 valid till January 31, 2022.
With the pandemic situation persisting and travel to Europe seeming unlikely, the sisters demanded a full refund and when the company failed to respond to their demands, they approached the Bangalore Rural and Urban 1st Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum on October 28, 2020.
The sisters’ advocate argued that the cancellation was made 70 days in advance and the tour company had ample time to carry out proceedings. The firm’s lawyer claimed the complaint was baseless and denied issuing a credit note. He said the company had booked tickets and hotel stay and paid for visas. The cost per traveller was Rs 2,44,390 and they had offered a huge discount for the benefit of the sisters. However, Kesari representatives failed to produce evidence to show bookings were made.
Examining the arguments of both parties for close to 12 months, judges of the consumer court noted that even deduction towards administrative fees for the European tour package cannot be permitted as it was clear that the company had not made any arrangements for the tour.
Moreover, Covid-19 had disrupted various operations across the globe and the complainants’ demand was just. Their refusal to travel at a later period using a credit note had to be taken into consideration since Covid is a life-threatening disease, the judges said.
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Sagar Biswas

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