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Delhi SCDRC upholds Rs 5 lakh fine on telecom provider for harassment

The Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC) has recently upheld a fine of Rs 5 lakh on a private telecom service provider company. The Delhi District Consumer Court upheld the fine imposed on a customer for harassing him/her with phone calls and disconnecting his/her services despite the amount paid. The State Commission, comprising Justice Sangeeta Dhingra Sehgal and Judgment Member Pinky, in its order dated July 1, 2024, said that the company was not only negligent in providing its services but also used its position to harass the customer.

Consumer court’s decision is correct
The court said it found no inadequacy in the district consumer court’s order passed in 2014. The district consumer court had imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh in its September 2014 order, directing that Rs 3 lakh be deposited in the state consumer welfare fund and the remaining Rs 2 lakh be paid to the complainant for “extreme and deliberate insult, humiliation, mental agony, harassment, loss of benefit of services due to wrong connection and litigation expenses”.

The complainant requested an investigation
Complainant Jasmeet Singh Puri (now deceased) was informed by the company in March 2013 that the cheque he/she had paid for internet and phone services had bounced due to insufficient funds to pay the bill of Rs 4,995. However, Puri, who was then working as the chief executive officer (CEO) of a company, asked officials of the telecom service provider to check with the bank and the statement showed that the amount had been credited to the company’s account.

Telecom company had sent legal notice
Despite this, the company representatives did not acknowledge the receipt of payment and then disconnected his/her internet services in May 2013. Not only this, they sent him/her a legal notice demanding payment of Rs 7,549. The company also disconnected internet and phone services without paying any heed to the communication made by Puri regarding payment of the amount. The commission said that the service provider has neither produced any evidence that they have investigated the customer’s complaints and replies nor have they registered any complaint in this matter. Moreover, even after receiving a complaint from the customer, the service provider did not take any concrete steps to stop calling him/her.

Taking note of the communication made through email, the commission said that the organization not only showed negligence in providing its services but also misused its position to harass Puri. The commission said that the company failed to provide adequate service to Puri. As a result, he/she had to suffer. Hence, this proved to be a deficiency on the part of the service provider. Press Wire18

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