SOTC-Trip cancelled due to visa denial. Not refunding Rs 4 Lacs
I had booked an european holiday for my family by paying 4 Lacs to SOTC. This is an all inclusive package including airfare, hotels, meals and sightseeing.
This also includes visa processing fee - however the company claims they are not responsible for visa even when they are charging visa fee and also providing documents related to travel.
After paying advance amount of Rs 80,000 and confirming the trip, the company didnot initiate any action towards visa or tickets. Seeing no action even after multiple reminders, i had sent an email asking them to cancel the trip and refund the money. Post which they connected with me and initiated the documentation and visa processing. Crucial 7 days were lost in this inaction.
Afterwards, 1 day before travel I received the passport from embassy with a letter saying visa is denied and i coudn't travel.
The explanation given by embassy was "The information submitted regarding the justification for the purpose and conditions of the intended stay was not reliable".
Which the visa was submitted by me, the documentation provided, specially relating to travel itinirary, dates etc were provided by the company and hence the liability of this should be with the company.
Also, When i reached out after this to the company, they told since the cancellation is last minute they will not not make any refund. Even my request to reschedule to a different trip and that i will bear the actual cancellation expenses was also not considered. Infact the company has till date not responded even once over email after the trip cancellation.
I had sent a lawyers notice demanding my money as well as pay me for mental agony. to which they have engaged a lawer and sent me a counter response saying my claims are invalid.
So my questions are below.
1. How valid is my case ?
( Given the letter of rejection from Embassy clearly saying its due to unreliable documentation related to the trip. Also, the company being the tour manager is taking money for visa processing as well. even if they declare no responsibility in broucher, they should be.)
2. What should be the next steps?
(Should I approach consumer court or criminal court. What should be the approach)
3. If i go to consumer court shoudl i go as an individual or hire a lawyer to represent me?
(given SOTC has already engaged a lawer to send counter response)
4. There were also huge gap in service at multiple levels. Shouldn't they be accountable for it?
-1. delaying the process initiation for 7 days,
- Persuading me to go ahead with the trip when i had emailed them my doubts and asked them to cancel trip
- Not responding to me even once till date after trip cancellation. They simply vanished after taking money.
- All my bookings (hotel,insurance,restaurant,airline) etc were not cancelled even after trip cancellation.
- Since the trip was for 10 days - many of this bookings could have been cancelled atleast for the later part of travel.
Asked 4 years ago in Civil Law