Consumer Forum orders Vodafone to compensate harassed consumer
Holding that writing of a date in National Calendar format in any instrument is valid, the Thane District Consumer Redressal Forum has asked the country’s second largest telco Vodafone to compensate a customer for not processing his bill payment. The calendar format, sometimes referred to us ‘shaka calendar’, was adopted in 1957.
In their order issued on Wednesday, forum president Sneha S Mhatre and members Madhuri S Vishwarupe and N D Kadam have ordered Vodafone to pay a compensation of Rs 7,000 to the customer, Shripad Bambhorikar, toward mental harassment and legal charges.
Bambhorikar, a Vodafone customer, had deposited a cheque written with the national calendar format against the payment of his monthly bill, which did not get processed by the company. Bambhorikar had alleged Vodafone had not not sent the cheque for clearance stating the reason that the date format was not valid. He informed the service provider about a circular issued by RBI on July 01,2009 directing the banks to accept the cheques written in the National date format.
After hearing both the sides, the forum concluded that the service provider was at fault and there was deficiency in its services in not sending the cheque with date in National Calender format on it for clearance.
When contacted, a Vodafone India spokesperson said it did present the cheque with its bank, which in turn returned it on technical grounds. “An earlier plea made to the court by Vodafone to make the bank a party to the case was not accepted. We will now once again appeal against the above mentioned order along with an application for the concerned bank to be made a party to the case,” he said in a statement.
The forum has also asked Vodafone to restore Bambhorikar’s connection by March, or else pay a compensation of Rs 1,000 per month. On July 01,2010 the RBI forwarded a copy of the circular to the complainant who in turn made a complaint to the TRAI, against the service provider who refused to accept the cheque with National calendar date format.
The TRAI had on March 30,2014 directed the service provider to accept the cheque after which the service provider sent the cheque for clearance and it was cleared on April 07,2014.
However, the next payment which was made vide cheque with the date in the National Calender format was returned by the service provider mentioning as invalid date and the service provider disconnected the mobile services.
In its submission, Vodafone informed the forum that its banker refused to send the cheque for clearance as the date was invalid on it.