A person who had booked a marriage hall and paid an additional sum of money towards pandal and other decorations, and had to cancel the arrangement subsequently, was denied refund of the decoration charges by the marriage hall owner, but has found justice at the District Consumer Forum.

The client, N J Annamalai, issued a cheque for a sum of Rs. 1.34 lakhs for the hall and service tax, and paid Rs. 80,000 in cash for decorations. He received no receipt for the Rs. 80,000.

Two days later, unfortunate circumstances forced him to cancel the booking. The marriage hall owner, however, tried to get him to shift the booking to another day within two months. Since he was unable to do so, Annamalai issued a ‘stop payment’ order on the cheque.

When his repeated requests for a refund of the Rs. 80,000 was turned down, he approached the consumer forum.
The proprietor denied that he had received any cash payment from Annamalai for the decorations. He argued that under the terms of the contract, the money paid as rent and service tax was not refundable.

The Forum held that the proprietor had not mentioned in the affidavit submitted that he had not received the Rs. 80,000, and the subsequent written statement to this effect was clearly an afterthought. Further, the Forum noted, the contract mentioned that payment for flower decorations and a ‘pandal’ were a ‘must’.

Since the proprietor found another client to take up Annamalai’s cancelled booking, he had not suffered any loss, the Forum further observed, and directed the proprietor to refund the Rs. 80,000 to Annamalai along with a compensation of Rs 25,000 for the mental agony he had been made to suffer, and Rs 5,000 as costs.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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