Telecom firm fined Rs.20,000 for threat calls to consumer

August 20th, 2008 - 7:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) Taking strong exception to telecom companies employing agents to recover dues by making threatening and abusive calls to customers, the Delhi Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has slapped a fine of Rs.20,000 on Tata Tele Services Limited for indulging in such activities. “No civilized society can brook such kind or method of recovery particularly in a democratic set up governed by rule of law. Every right of service provider or consumer has to be claimed or settled through due process of law and not by arrogating the powers of court to themselves,” said Justice J.D. Kapoor, president of the commission.

He said that in such cases every consumer is entitled for reasonable compensation for the mental agony, harassment, loss of reputation, financial loss, emotional and physical sufferings as the concept of compensation has very wide connotation.

Sameer Nandwani, an advocate, had opted for a plan floated by Tata Tele Services in which he was to pay Rs.1,000 as initial deposit after which a handset was to be given to him. A further amount of Rs.199 per month was payable for a period of two years.

Nandwani, in his petition, alleged that the handset did not function properly right from day one as it had some connectivity problem. Battery of the handset was also malfunctioning.

He also alleged that the billing of his phone was not proper as he was receiving highly excessive bills.

In spite of complaints, no action was taken. He was then informed that there was a change in the plan of the company.

Since the change in the plan did not suit him, Nandwani asked for cancellation of the connection. Instead of cancellation, he received a bill of Rs.2,000 and outgoing calls were suddenly stopped.

When he complained that there were no such dues, he started receiving threatening and abusive calls from people claiming to be advocates and recovery agents of the company. He also filed police complaints regarding it.

The plea of the company that on surrender of the handset, the customer was required to pay Rs.2,000 did not find favour with the commission since such a term of contract was never part of the contract nor was brought to the knowledge of the consumer at the initial stage. Such a conduct on the part of the service provider was considered as deficiency in service and also unfair trade practice.

Justice Kapoor said that once the consumer had surrendered the telephone connection, raising of bill for the subsequent period was illegal, unjustified and arbitrary.

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