Mumbai: Gemologist fined Rs 3.2 lakh after his stone fails to turn man a crorepati

Consumer court docks gemologist Rs 3 lakh after client, who didn't turn crorepati as promised, sues him

The Dadar West branch of the store. Pic/Tanvi Phondekar
The Dadar West branch of the store. Pic/Tanvi Phondekar

Selling 'lucky gemstones' to an 80-year-old has proved unlucky for a jewellery store. As the gems failed to turn the man's fortunes around, the consumer court ordered the shop to return Rs 3.2 lakh.

The victim, Kawadu Khandale's fantasy of being a rich man was renewed in 2013 when he saw an ad by Swarn Sparsh - sellers of astrological gems - promising they could change anybody's luck with a gemstone. The fact that they were offering a money back guarantee made it seem like a sound investment.

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On February 11, 2013, the Prabhadevi resident went to a branch in Dadar East and bought a Neelam gemstone. Later, he received a message from two astrologers at the jewellery shop, Kumari Prachi and Shashikant Pandya, saying that Neelam was not lucky for him. Instead, they asked him to buy Pukhraj and Manik stones, for which he paid Rs 2.9 lakh.

Crorepati in 3 months
The astrologers promised that if he did not become a crorepati within three months, they would return his money. Khandale waited for the money to rain, but when nothing happened, he returned to the shop to ask for his money back. When the shop staffers refused to honour their promise, Khandale approached the consumer court in May 2014.

A notice was issued against Gems & Jewellery Pvt Ltd, which owns all Swarn Sparsh stores. But the company responded to the notice by denying all allegations.

'Didn't meet the terms'
In their reply, they stated that Khandale had purchased the Neelam Stone after consultation, and without any force and coercion from anybody. Within 30 days, the complainant told them that the Neelam gem was not suiting him and he exchanged it for the Manik and Pukhraj stones.

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"It is further contended that as per terms and conditions, he has to surrender the above stone within 30 days of purchase, but he failed to do so," their reply added.

The ruling
The South Mumbai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum ruled in favour of Khandale, observing, "The promise given by the opponent to the complainant was that the stones purchased by him are very lucky to him and he will become crorepati within 30 days. But nothing happened as per the promises and, therefore, it appears that there is unfair trade practice and deficiency in service on the part of the opponent. We came to the conclusion that the complainant is an extremely old man, he has made several efforts to obtain his refund and has shown willingness to return all the stones back to the opponents."

The court ordered the company to return Khandale's money with 9 per cent interest (from the date of filing), along with Rs 25,000 as compensation and Rs 5,000 as litigation charges.

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The other side
Sandeep Utwal, an official from the jewellery store, said, "Our policy requires the customer to return the stone in 30 days. But the complainant came to us after one and a half years. We are going to appeal against the order."

No. of branches run by Gems & Jewellery Pvt Ltd

Rs 3.2 lakh
Amount the company has been ordered to pay the complainant

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