North Park Hotel asked to pay Rs 10K compensation to Panchkula resident: The Tribune India


Tribune press service

Panchkula, June 23

The Panchkula District Consumer Dispute Recovery Commission ordered opposing party (OP) North Park Hotel to pay compensation of Rs 10,000 to the resident of the town for failing to refund the amount of the reservation deposited for her wedding function before the start of the Covid lockdown in March 2020.

The Chairman of the Commission, Satpal, also ordered the opposing party (OP) to pay 9% interest per annum on the reservation amount of Rs 1.5 lakh from the date of filing the complaint until upon realization of the amount by the plaintiff.

The commission said: “The PO must comply with the instructions/order within 45 days from the date of communication of this order failing which the complainant will be free to approach this commission for the opening of a proceedings under Article 71/72 of the Consumer Protection Act against them.

Lawyer Abhay Garg, a resident of Sector 20, Panchkula, in his complaint to the commissioner said he was looking for a suitable venue for his wedding and got in touch with the PO who showed him the venue. After seeing the property he liked the poolside venue and the same was booked on Feb 2, 2020, for April 4-5, 2020 after discussing the food menu, decor and also the cost for the same.

Eventually, the PO gave a rough estimate of Rs 6.45 lakh for two working days and the complainant paid Rs 1.5 lakh in advance. However, in March, there was a global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequently, a nationwide lockdown was imposed in India from March 23, 2020, for 21 days.

Subsequently, the Complainant contacted and discussed the prevailing situation with the PO as his marital duties had been affected due to the unforeseen pandemic. The PO asked the complainant to send a message regarding the postponement of his duties.

The complainant sent a message from his WhatsApp number 9569486156 to the OP stating that his wedding date was not yet decided as he was unsure when the lockdown would end. The complainant asked for confirmation from the PO regarding his message. After receiving a message from the complainant, the PO did not return. After this incident, the PO started dodging phone calls from the complainant and also refused to return the reservation amount of Rs 1.5 lakh stating that it is non-refundable.

The complainant served legal notice on the PO on August 8, 2020 and October 6, 2021, but no response was received from them.

The PO’s attorney claimed that the plaintiff had himself postponed the wedding ceremony. The attorney’s next argument was that the PO had paid the vendors a certain amount for floral decoration, groceries, catering and other services for the proposed wedding function. And thus, the alleged amount of Rs 1.5 lakh was not likely to be refunded to the plaintiff, the lawyer added.

The lawyer further said that the PO was willing to grant a credit note of Rs 1.5 lakh to the plaintiff, which he could use in another six months for any function.

The commission observed that this assertion was also not defensible being baseless and baseless. There was no documentary evidence on file to support claims that OP made payments to the vendor for the floral decoration, the commission said. And so, in the absence of such evidence to support the PO’s claims, the objection was dismissed, the commission ruled.

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