Unfair trade practice: Consumer forum orders dietician to pay compensation to diabetes patient
Chandigarh: The District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, Chandigarh has recently ordered a dietitian to pay Rs 25, 000 to the patient as compensation along with Rs 1 lakh to the consumer legal aid fund after finding her guilty of unfair trade practice.
The complainant had alleged that though she did not want to avail the services of the dietician and prayed for the refund, the refund was not delivered to her. However, the dietician contended the submission stating that her services have been provided to the patient when she was abroad via WhatsApp.
The complainant (a housewife) along with her husband had visited the dietician for diabetes treatment. The complainant signed the enrollment form and paid 1,000/- as the enrollment fee. Per averments, the dietician had told it would take at least 9 months for treatment for which the package was of 75,000/- in one go and consultancy was to start upon payment. In view of some financial constraints of the complainant, she agreed to accept 25,000/- and the remaining two installments of 25,000/- each was to be paid later on. The complainant had informed the dietician that she and her husband had to go abroad after three days to attend a family function and they were to return after two months and then she would start the consultation process.
It was submitted that after coming from abroad sugar level and BP of the complainant increased and her health deteriorated and she did not want to follow the process of OP and prayed for a refund of the amount. The dietician allegedly did not refund the deposited amount, she alleged.
The counsel for the petitioner submitted that since the complainant had not availed the services of the dietician, therefore, she was bound to refund the amount and non-refund of the same speaks of deficiency in service and unfair trade practice on her part. Hence, the complainant filed the instant consumer complaint about directing the dietician to refund 25,000/- along with interest; pay compensation of 50,000/- and 15,000/- as litigation expenses.
The counsel for the dietician contested the consumer complaint and stated that the patient took the package of 75,000/- and had paid 25,000/- only and the remaining amount was agreed to be paid in two installments i.e. of 25,000/- each. The complainant was a patient with blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol, was insulin-dependent and under treatment. After making the initial payment, the complainant did not visit the clinic as she had taken a weekly diet for about six weeks on her mobile phone. Subsequent thereto, the dietician had sent an email to the complainant claiming the balance amount but her phone was not reachable. Thereafter, a call was received stating the complainant had gone abroad for about two months and will resume treatment under her after returning from abroad.
The dietician stated that she regularly sent diets to the complainant on her mobile phone. She further stated that she was ready to undertake the remaining part of the treatment in case the remaining amount of 50,000/- was paid. Hence, claimed there was no unfair trade practice or deficiency in service on the part of her.
"Per the pleadings of the OP it appears, forcefully she claimed to have sent it via WhatsApp, contra the instructions of the complainant, just to utilize the amount which she had already received from the complainant. Again it is a case of unfair trade practice and exploitation of an innocent consumer at the hands of the service provider i.e. the OP. "
its recitals are undisputed one and unequivocally the OP (dietician) in her email had claimed since the complainant had not followed the diet......... This shatters and put cracks on the contents of the reply that dietary plans were supplied as the OP had admitted services were not availed by the complainant and she was at liberty to avail the same. This email shows the reply furnished by the OP is vexatious and just to deprive the complainant of refund of the amount. Clearly, it is a case of unfair trade practice on the part of the OP.
1. The dietician has been instructed to refund the amount of 25,000/- to the complainant alongwith interest @8% per annum from the date of payment i.e. 9.9.2019 till realization.
2. Opposition should pay 15,000/- to the complainant as compensation for causing mental agony and harassment to her;
3. The opposition is also directed to pay 10,000/- to the complainant as costs of litigation.
4. OP is further burdened with exemplary costs of 1,00,000/- which shall be deposited by her in the Consumer Legal Aid Fund account.