Mr.Dattatrya Bhosale works in the field of software development with UST Global. Recently, he had to shift from Hyderabad to Bangalore and he engaged the services of Aggarwal Goods Shifting Pvt. Ltd. for the same. Mr.Bhosale found the service deficient and approached Akosha for a quick resolution. After efforts to contact Aggarwal Goods failed, the consumer court had to be approached which declared an award in favour of Mr.Bhosale in an ex parte suit.
We decided to interview Mr. Bhosale on his experience and he had the following to say:
Mr. Bhosale had to move from Hyderabad to Bangalore. For the same he needed the services of a company that could pack and shift his goods to the desired location. On enquiring, someone recommended Agarwal Packers to him. Mr. Bhosale, like most aware consumers, decided to google the company and came across the website of Aggarwal Goods Shifting Pvt. Ltd.
He contacted the company and struck a deal for shifting his goods from Hyderabad to Bangalore for a sum of Rs. 12,000. After the goods were packed, he was given a bill for more than what he had bargained for. On enquiring about the same, he was told that the extra amount was due to taxes. On negotiation, the final amount charged was Rs. 14,500 which Mr.Bhosale paid in full in advance.
When the goods reached Bangalore after 2 day delay, Mr. Bhosale found that a luggage bag was missing which in his estimate contained goods worth Rs. 23,000. On the company’s invoice, the value of each item to be shifted was not mentioned and the missing item was simply mentioned as ‘bag’.
Mr. Bhosale reached the Bangalore address of the company only to find out that a different signboard stood there. When he enquired about Aggarwal Goods, he was ushered in the office at the same site. He was told that the value of the goods that were shifted had not been mentioned on the invoice as the goods were not insured. Besides, he was told that the company shall search for his bag in their godown and let him know if they find it. After 15 days and a number of calls and visits to the office, when he still could not get his bag, he asked the company for compensation. He was told that the maximum that he could be paid was Rs. 3000/-
Aggrieved by the situation, Mr. Bhosale looked for a solution to the matter. He was aware that he could drag the company to consumer court but he wanted to know if there was another alternative. The internet came to his aid once again and while searching for a solution to his problem, he stumbled upon Akosha’s website.
Mr. Bhosale contacted the team at Akosha who were quick to grasp the problem. Efforts to reach Aggarwal Goods did not materialise. Letters were sent to the company’s Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad offices with three different outcomes. The letter at Hyderabad office was not received and came back. The one at Delhi was received but there was no reply to it. The Bangalore office called up Mr.Bhosale directly and were not very polite in their communication and accused him of disturbing them.
As the last resort, Mr. Bhosale approached the consumer court with Akosha’s help. The case was heard ex parte as the defendant did not appear for any of the hearings. Mr. Bhosale’s experience with the consumer court was not very satisfying as he experienced a number of problems. The court did not grant him much time to argue and was told to only narrate his problem. The hearing was postponed quite a few times due to unconnected reasons like a lawyers’ strike.
In absence of any evidence or testimony to the contrary, the court held that it was established that the bag was lost in transit while shifting of goods from Hyderabad to Bangalore. However, it was also held that on account of no tangible evidence as to the value of the goods in the bag and the discrepancy between packing list and the list of articles said to be in the lost bag, the value of missing goods cannot be pegged at Rs. 23,000/-The nature of the goods was held to be that of used household goods on the basis of which the value was assessed to be Rs. 10,000/-
The court decided in Mr. Bhosale’s favour but the award did not grant him the same amount prayed for in the petition. While Mr. Bhosale’s prayer for an award to compensate him for the value of lost goods was granted, his prayer for compensation for mental harassment and agony was not granted. The court ordered the defendants to comply with the award by one month from the date of the judgement. Mr.Bhosale is contemplating appealing the award.
In Mr.Bhosale’s words, his experience with Akosha was very nice. His interaction with Akosha representatives reminded him of his experience of customer services during his days in Canada. He mentioned that the aid provided by Akosha was worth much more than the fee charged.
On Consumer Forum:
Mr. Bhosale was kind enough to share his experience and also provide some tips to first timers in a consumer court, in particular the Bangalore District forum:
- The complaint can also be filed online. There is no need to visit the court in order to file the complaint.
- The affidavit required by different district courts may differ in format. For instance, the affidavit prepared in Delhi in Mr. Bhosale’s case was not accepted in the Bangalore District Court for not being in the given format.
- Envelopes and postal stamps to send a notice to the opposing party must be submitted with the consumer forum on the very first day. This could be a cause for postponing the date of hearing.
- The date of the next hearing should be confirmed with the court clerk as not knowing the correct date of the next hearing can unnecessarily delay the case.
Thanks to Naman Gupta, our intern from NUJS, Kolkatta for his research and drafting of this article.
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