The complainant aborted her 12-day northeast trip in 2013 due to false promises
Juhu resident Bharti Raimangiya will never forget the 12-day trip to Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya she took in 2013, along with her 71-year-old mother and two sisters, for two reasons. First, for being cheated by the tour operator, which forced her to cut her trip, which cost her Rs 1.2 lakh, short by eight days. And, second, for getting the court to order Su-'Man' Tours & Travels to pay her a compensation of around Rs 2 lakh.
According to a copy of the order of the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Mumbai surburban, Raimangiya booked the trip with Su-'Man' Tours & Travels for R1.20 lakh after reading its advertisement on a trip to Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya.
She visited the travel agency's office in Raghuleela Mall, Kandivli West, on March 17, 2013, and met its owner, Rakesh. He assured her that the trip would be safe and the food up to mark. He also promised that the travel group would be restricted to 24 members. Raimangiya paid the amount in parts by April 18, 2013.
The trip, which commenced on April 25 that year, turned into a nightmare. The family flew to Guwahati, where they met eight other travellers. From day one, trouble began in the form of being served lunch at 4.30 pm, the driver skipping destinations and the hotel being changed at the last minute.
"The next day, we were promised an elephant ride, but the animal was replaced by a jeep. The jeep also broke down, and we were stranded for over two hours," said Raimangiya in her petition. On the second day, they were taken to Shillong, instead of Tejpur.
Their hotel was 'indecent' and they had to scout for better accommodation and food at midnight. "When I called Rakesh, he was extremely rude and refused to sort out the issue," says Raimangiya in the petition, who learnt that she had been overcharged compared to other travellers. On April 27, she filed a complaint at the Shillong police station against the travel agency and returned to Mumbai. Raimangiya lodged a complaint against the tour operator in December 2014 with the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum.
Justice at last
In mid-May, a bench of Justice MY Mankar and member SR Sanap, Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, asked Su-'Man' Tours & Travels to refund R60,000, along with an interest of 10%. The panel also slapped it with a fine of R1 lakh for harassment, along with court expenses of Rs 5,000. The hearing was not attended by any representative of the travel agency.