A private educational consultancy firm in Hyderabad has been directed to return Rs. 9 lakh and pay Rs. 1.5 lakh by the Hyderabad District Consumer Disputes Redressal forum as a compensation to a particular customer who had wanted to receive admission into a medical sciences college in Germany. This was after the company had taken the complete course fee all before the woman had gotten admission and even before a visa was granted.
How it Happened
Dr. Brahmani D., on the 13th of October, 2013, had entered into an agreement with M/s International; Medical Ed Services in the city of Hyderabad, Telangana after being promised by them to help her in each and every stage of the admission process, right u[ to getting an invitation letter from the college as well as a packaged scheme for accommodation.
Initially, Dr. Brahmani D. was told that the expenses for the course in its entirety would be close to Rs. 13 lakh and that she would additionally have to show a bank balance equivalent to 8,400 Euros for the Visa procedure. However, as part of entering into the deal she paid Rs. 13.55 lakh following which the firm returned Rs. 1 lakh on the 24th of February, 2014. The reason behind this move was unknown at the time.
The application for the visa was then submitted on the 18th of March, 2014, including all the necessary documents, but it was rejected later on the 9th of March, 2014.
Now, not being able to study in Germany, Brahmani urged the firm to refund the amount paid by her to them following which the consultancy issued to her four post-dated cheques for a total amount of Rs. 12.39 lakh. The cheques, however, bounced due to a dearth of funds. Brahmani then informed the consultancy of this occurrence and in response, they paid up Rs. 3.5 in physical cash and drew out three cheques for the remainder of the amount, Rs. 9 lakh. These cheques too, however, were not realised due to insufficient funds.
Brahmani repeatedly requested the money be returned to her but these requests were not honoured. She then filed a complaint with the aforementioned forum alleging unfair-trade-practice and deficiency in service. The defending parties were then served notice of appearance by the forum however they failed to do so on the prescribed date.
The bench passed judgement on the case on the 5th of January, 2017 stating that after the complainant’s visa was rejected, the defendants should have then followed through by refunding the amount paid after deducting fair processing charges. However, they failed to do so, and this act constituted a deficiency of service. The bench went on to say that the firm is also liable for unfair trade practice for demanding and then going on to receive the complete course fee before even obtaining admission to the university on behalf of the complainant.