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Cannot force consumers to buy expensive products, rules Bengaluru court

Service providers cannot force consumers to buy their products or pay a higher price for a product they do not want, a consumer court ruled recently.

TheBangalore Urban 2nd Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, ruling in favour of a resident of Vijinapura, Chandra Shekar Ethiraj, on his appeal against an elevator firm, also awarded Rs 5,000 in litigation expenses that has to be paid by the company within 60 days.

In January last year, Ethiraj had planned to install the Elite Elevators’H200 model at his residence. But after receiving a cost estimate that exceeded his Rs 20 lakh budget, he rejected the order.

Company representatives met Ethiraj to convince him of their product, following which he agreed to visit their experience center for a product demonstration. But he was shown a different model (H300) than what he had originally wanted. After some negotiations, the two parties settled on a revised price of Rs 18,89,790, excluding GST.

The company requested he issue a cheque of Rs 5 lakh in advance, assuring him that it would not be encashed without his knowledge.

Accordingly, Ethiraj issued undated cheques of Rs 2.5 lakh each from his and his wife’s accounts, but received no response from the company, despite repeated attempts to contact them. Ethiraj decided to cancel the order.

But, he found that the company had encashed the cheques and also raised the price to Rs 19.77 lakh without GST. They also refused to cancel the order, prompting Ethiraj to move theconsumer court in September last year.

Two months later,Ethiraj also filedanFIR against the representatives and KRamanathan and Co, which owns the elevator firm, of cheating him to the tune of Rs 5 lakh.

On August 31, the consumer court ruled that the company had provided deficient service. They ordered the company to reimburse Ethiraj Rs 5 lakh, along with 6% interest from the date of payment until realisation.

(Published 16 October 2023, 21:53 IST)

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