BENGALURU: Bharti Airtel Limited was directed to refund Rs 20 and ex parte to pay Rs 500 each towards damages and litigation expenses to AM Hussain Shareef, who fought his legal battle on his own with the help of an online legal firm before the Consumer Commission.
Shareef, a retired employee of a chartered accountant firm, stays with his son at Doddakanalli. He had recharged Rs 49 which expired on August 4, 2021., stays with his son at Doddakanalli. He had recharged Rs 49 which expired on August 4, 2021. On August 7, 2021, he recharged Rs 20 online, which was confirmed by a message.
The talk time was Rs 14.95 but the incoming and outgoing calls were stopped on that day, and he got a message informing him that the recharge was invalid. After repeated attempts and losing his money, he approached an online legal platform which assisted him and charged a nominal fee to prepare the complaint which was filed in November 2021.
The Bangalore Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission not only directed Airtel to refund Rs 20 but also ordered ex parte to pay Rs 500 each as damages and litigation expenses to Shareef.
Unfair trade practice, says consumer panel
The Commission comprising president HR Srinivas and members YS Thammanna and SM Sharavathi said that though the complainant has corresponded with Airtel and issued a legal notice, it remained adamant and did not reply to the complainant’s demand. The acceptance of Rs 20 has been admitted by the firm where it is a specific contention in the e-mail correspondences that there is no validity of the Rs 20 recharge. It is the duty of the firm to refund Rs 20 but the same has not been done, the Commission said, hence, “there is deficiency in service to that extent and also unfair trade practice”.
The matter was settled in April 2022
Shareef told TNIE that how can a system accept Rs 20 when there is no such plan. People normally do not bother about such issue since it is a meagre amount, he said, and added that he was determined to teach a lesson to Airtel and create awareness among consumers about their rights.
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