Chennai: The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chennai (North), has directed an international airline to pay Rs 52,000 to an industrialist for theft of his credit cards from his checked in baggage at Chennai airport four years ago.
Four ground staff of Emirates Airways allegedly took away the cards from his baggage while boarding a flight to France. In the complaint, Fredrick Wilson, an industrialist of Coimbatore, submitted he visited Nice, France, with his family members and his friends for summer vacation in May-June 2012. They boarded an Emirates Airways flight on May 26 at Chennai around 4.15 am.
On reaching Nice, he noticed that in one of his suitcases the lock had been tampered with and the suitcase could not be opened. He continued the journey without opening the suitcase. On returning to Chennai, he checked the suitcase contents. The credit cards were missing.
He also learnt that there was an illegal transaction using his credit cards and found that some fraudulent transactions to the tune of `47,000 done by unidentified persons using the cards.
An FIR was registered in June 2012. With the aid of CCTV footage from shops, police identified Zahir Usain, Kumaresan, Salim and Muthuswamy, employees in cargo division of Emirates Airways as those who stole the cards. He contended it was the responsibility of the airlines to safeguard passenger luggage when once handed over to it. If there was any pilferage in luggage, the airlines should compensate the passengers.
Denying the allegations, Emirates Airways replied no complaint was lodged at Nice airport in respect of the alleged tampering of the lock. He committed mistake by packing credit cards in checked in baggage.
As per norms, the carrier would not be liable for loss of items like jewellery, cash, important documents etc. Such items should always be carried in the hand bag.
The Bench of president K.Jayabalan and member T.Kalaiyarasi said the airlines’ employees committed theft and misused the credit cards, Therefore, it held the airlines had committed deficiency in service. The forum directed the airlines to refund him Rs 47,000 with interest from May 2012 and to pay Rs 5,000 as costs in six weeks.