Builder in Thane asked to cough up Rs 3 lakh for duping customer

A consumer forum in Thane has directed a builder to pay Rs 3 lakh compensation to a customer for failing to hand over a flat to her as per the agreement.

Complainant Gulnaz S Shaikh, of Raigad district, informed the Thane District Consumer Redressal Forum (TDCRF) that she had booked a 364 sq ft flat with M/s Ali Builders of Mumbra in their project New Manoj Nivas.

She said that she had paid an advance of Rs 1.5 lakh on April 15, 2008, for which an agreement was also made and the total cost fixed at Rs 3,50,000. The builder had agreed that he would hand over the flat within a period of 12 months, which he did not do and also did
not refund the advance taken from the complainant. Despite several reminders and requests, the builder never paid any heed to the complainant, who then approached the consumer forum.

TDCRF president Manohar Mankar and members Madhuri Vishwarupe and N D Kadam noted that the builder failed to present himself and defend the case and hence, the case was decided ex-parte.

The evidence before the forum proves that the builder had faulted by neither handing over possession nor refunding the advance taken from the complainant, they noted. The respondent had violated the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act provisions by not giving possession of the flat as per the agreement and hence, there was deficiency in his services, the forum observed.

The forum recently ordered the builder to pay the complainant a compensation of Rs 3 lakh and Rs 10,000 towards legal expenses by November 17, else pay an interest of 9 per cent per annum thereafter. It also asked the builder to hand over the possession with the agreed facilities by November 17 to the complainant and if he is unable to comply, he should pay an additional compensation of Rs 5,000 per month from November 18, till he hands over the possession.

The forum further stated that the complainant should within 15 days of getting the letter from builder of his intention to hand over the flat to him, pay him the balance amount of Rs 2 lakh. If the builder is unable to hand over the possession of the flat to the complainant he should return the advance of Rs 1.5 lakh taken from her along with an interest at 18 per cent per annum from April 15, 2008 till November 17, 2015, else he should pay an interest at 21 per cent till the realisation of the amount paid in advance to him.

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