• 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

First answer received in 10 minutes.

Lawyers are available now to answer your questions.

14 Answers

Hello,

You should now file a case before the consumer forum on the ground of unfair trade practices and deficiency in services.

You have a strong reason to file a case, I would advise you to file a case through a lawyer so that the case is represented in the best possible manner.

Regards

Anilesh Tewari
Advocate, New Delhi
17940 Answers
377 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

You can file complaint against SOTC before consumer forum seek refund of money paid by you

2) seek litigation costs and compensation for mental torture undergone by you

3) engage a local lawyer

Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
87899 Answers
6207 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

Its all depend upon terms and conditions of your service provide company contract agreement/booking agreement. All the best.

C. V. Jadhav
Advocate, Bangalore
545 Answers
18 Consultations

4.7 on 5.0

1) First you have to check the norms and conditions before entering into the contract with them.

2) what are charges to get Visa sanction and not sanctioned per person in general for each and every foreign tour.

3) Check all above points and apply in the consumer forum of your city and you can go individually.

4) All that services issues you have to mentioned in the complaint to consumer forum.

Ganesh Kadam
Advocate, Pune
12335 Answers
191 Consultations

4.9 on 5.0

Valid claim for refund with interest and compensation. Rejection note clearly showing who at faults. Also, where trip is booked, complete liability is of agency.

File consumer complain. and can try for criminal complain but police may refuse, take some lawyer with u, while filing criminal complain. Both maintainable.

Court gives more audience to lawyer, better appoint lawyer.

Default on the part of agency already proven by delaying of 7 days and on your insistence, proceeded.

Yogendra Singh Rajawat
Advocate, Jaipur
21481 Answers
31 Consultations

4.4 on 5.0

1. For rejection of visa due to fault of the tour and travel operator the passenger can be penalised and his money can not be forfeited. So you are liable for refund of the money and hence a good cased lies before the consumer forum.

2. So approaching the consume forum is best suited to you.

3. It is better to engage an advocate as lot of question of law may be argued which you are ill equipped to handle.

4. Yes, apparently there is deficiency of service and hence there is nothing to worry.

Devajyoti Barman
Advocate, Kolkata
22515 Answers
402 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

This is my response to you:

1. Send a legal notice, give them 30 days to return money;

2. Then engage a lawyer (it is better if you do) and file a complaint before the consumer court;

3. You can also seek compensation for the mental agony and torture suffered by you;

4. You can also file an FIR in police station against the opposite party under section 420 of IPC;

5. Collect all your evidences, oral, recording, written proof etc.

6. This would be helpful to you: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/3032389/

7. This too would be useful: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/85868970/

Gowaal Padavi
Advocate, Mumbai
1920 Answers
5 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

1. File police complaint against SOTC under charges of cheating and criminal breach of trust.

2. If police refuse to file FIR then approach a lawyer to file a complaint with magistrate of your jurisdictional court.

3. Then you can file recovery suit against SOTC with civil court.

Niranjan
Advocate, Bangalore
844 Answers
9 Consultations

4.9 on 5.0

How valid is my case ?

Since they had charged for visa processing fee it was their liability to get it done on time and in case of discrepancies to inform you.

So it amounts to deficiency in service.

What should be the next steps?

File a suit for recovery of money with damages and also file a complaint with consumer forum for deficiency in service and claim for damages and mental agony.

For third and fourth query its not necessary to appoint a lawyer since consumer protection act Is a beneficial legislation you can approach directly but an advocate will be well versed to fight the case and will efficiently get you remedy for your problem. If you have enough time to attend every hearing you can represent case yourself or appoint a lawyer. All the delays done by them amounts to deficiency and they are accountable for the same.

Swarnarka Chowdhury
Advocate, Mysore
1878 Answers
5 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

It's matter of consumer services and consumer forum is the proper authority to seek remedy and please your copies of agreement and other material papers seeking competition deficiency in service

Konda Srinivas
Advocate, Hyderabad
211 Answers
2 Consultations

Not rated

As you've got a good prima facie case, you should proceed to file a complaint against s o t c in consumer forum for deficiency of services and unfair trade practices adopted by them during the course of the business.

You can seek the entire amount paid by you along with damages and interest the time of realisation of amount paid by you.

If you are confident that you can represent your case yourself aptly, there is no need to hire a lawyer to appear on your behalf in consumer court which can be done by you and you can hire someone to do the drafting for you.

Siddharth Jain
Advocate, New Delhi
5925 Answers
101 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

Sir file a consumer complaint against the SOTC for the malpractices and deficiency of services it is the default of the company further you can claim compensation for mental agony and interest on the amount along with the litigation charges.

You have good case the company is at default, kindly hire a lawyer your case shall be presented in better way.

Further it will be better to proceed with the consumer court. Though you can also file a criminal complaint for cheating against them.

Shubham Jhajharia
Advocate, Ahmedabad
25516 Answers
179 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

So my questions are below.

1. How valid is my case ?

Valid and fit case to fight.

2. What should be the next steps?

Consumer Forum and cheating case in police station. Unless they are getting threat/trouble they wont react with you.

3. If i go to consumer court shoudl i go as an individual or hire a lawyer to represent me?

Proper notice to be served as per the consumer law by putting huge claims also criminal threat.

4. There were also huge gap in service at multiple levels. Shouldn't they be accountable for it?

Yes they are liable.

Shettar SS
Advocate, Bangalore
182 Answers
1 Consultation

4.4 on 5.0

1. If ther was mistake in the documentation then it is the liability of the company, they cannot refuse that.

2. Consumer forum for deficiency in service and refund.

3. If you are aware of the procedures of consumer forum then you can appear as party in person.

4. These things to be highlighted during trial.

T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
78057 Answers
1543 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

Ask a Lawyer

Get legal answers from lawyers in 1 hour. It's quick, easy, and anonymous!
  Ask a lawyer