Chennai: The state consumer disputes redressal commission, Chennai, has directed a leading travel company to pay Rs 5.02 lakh in damages to six persons, including a child, for dividing them into two groups during a foreign tour. As a result, the group faced serious hardship and spent money from their own pockets during the package tour to Singapore and Thailand in 2011.
Petitioners R. Syamb Ananthan, wife S. Chitra, their son S. Pradheep, daughter Janani, P. Muruganantham (a relative) and family friend A. Shafic Ali Ahamed, had booked the tour package with Cox & Kings at Spur Tank Road, Chetpet. They paid Rs5.61 lakh for five adults and a 11-year-old child.
But the travel agency, instead of booking flight tickets for a single group, made separate arrangements for Chitra. The petitioners said right from the start of the tour, they faced serious hardship, had to skip events and even ended up spending extra money for travel and lodging. A notice was sent to Cox & Kings on June 29, 2011, seeking a compensation of Rs 50 lakh. However, the travel agency was willing to pay just Rs1,42,303. In its reply, Cox & Kings said it was not liable for any omissions or commissions and, hence, was not liable for any deficiency in service.
But, a bench comprising president, Justice R. Regupathi, and judicial member J. Jayaram and member P. Bakiyavathi said the complainants had filed proof along with 16 documents. “As admitted by the agency, the six persons were divided into two groups. This amounts to gross deficiency in service. We find that they had suffered a lot mentally and the entire journey was unpleasant.” "Considering the material on record, we direct the agency to pay Rs 5.02 lakh, including Rs1,42,303, with an interest of 9 per cent per annum to the complainants in two months," the bench added.