The District Consumer Court in Chandigarh recently delivered an important judgment favoring a consumer, Mr. Vineet Marwaha in a case against Make My Trip (India) Pvt. Ltd. and OYO. This ruling highlights the significance of transparency and fair trade practices within the online travel industry.
The case is related to a hotel booking that Mr. Marwaha had made for a Goa vacation spanning from December 26 to December 30, 2021. Mr. Marwaha had engaged Goibibo, a subsidiary of MMT, for making hotel reservation, and made a payment of Rs. 10,432.
However, on December 23, 2021, Mr. Marwaha was shocked to receive a message from Goibibo’s representative that his booking had been canceled. They told that the hotel is “un-operational” during those days and so Mr. Marwaha’s payment was refunded, which caused severe mental agony to him and his family. This abrupt cancellation without consent left Mr. Marwaha and his family in a state of disarray, just days before their planned vacation.
To his shock and disappointment, very soon Mr. Marwaha discovered that the same hotel rooms were available online for the same dates, but at exorbitant rates, reaching as high as Rs. 27,207. This revelation prompted him to file a case against the company alleging “deficiency in service and unfair trade practices”.
The District Consumer Court considered facts and arguments from both parties. Make My Trip contended that they acted as intermediaries, solely facilitating the booking process, with no responsibility for cancellations or price hikes. OYO Rooms (Oravel Stays Private Limited) argued that their responsibility was restricted to arranging bookings, placing the operational liability on the hotel owners. However the hotel did not attend the consumer court proceedings.
In its verdict, the Consumer Court sided with the complainant, emphasizing that the consumer had made an advance booking with the expectation of locking the affordable rates of the hotel during the peak season in Goa. Nevertheless, the respondents canceled the booking without providing a valid justification, and they substantially raised the rates at their portal which clearly is unfair trade practice. The Court inferred that these actions were primarily driven by a desire for “substantial profiteering.”
Consequently, the Consumer Court directed the opposing parties to compensate the consumer with Rs. 35,000 for the mental agony and harassment they caused, along with an additional sum of Rs. 7,000 to cover the litigation costs. They were given a 30-day period to comply with the order, with the understanding that failure to do so would result in interest being applied to the compensation amount.
If you have any travel complaint, you can take legal action by sending Legal Notice to opposite party through a professional lawyer who can help you in getting resolution quickly.