BEFORE THE BANGALAORE IV ADDL. DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM AT BANGALORE

COMPLAINT NO. 1817/2007
DATED THIS 15TH APRIL 2008

BETWEEN:
MR. RIZWAN BAIG                                        COMPLAINANT

AND:
OPPOSITE PARTY                                        BHARATI AIRTEL LTD.

O R D E R

This is a complaint filed by the Complainant against the Opposite Party (Op. in short) for quashing of Bill dated 6.8.2007 with compensation of Rs.1,00,000/- with costs and for such other reliefs.

The brief facts of the case are that last year, Complainant had subscribed for Data Card Broadband Service No.9980128825, for the purpose of availing the internet facility offered by the Op. Complainant paid a sum of Rs.8,500/- for the same. That the Complainant is naïve in the matter of computers and internet usage etc. Complainant thinking that wireless internet service may be a better option availed data services. Complainant had never opted for voice or GPRS or SMS facility on the Data card. In fact the Op registered the Complainant under 399 Plan, which does not include voice services. Further, the Op had also fixed dynamic credit limit of Rs.1,200/- per bill. Since the day of the subscription, Complainant had never made a single telephone call nor has received any incoming calls over the Data card and even the Internet usage was very negligible. Through out the monthly bills were minimum of Rs.553/- including taxes etc. Despite the aforesaid facts, the last bill dated 06.07.2007 issued by the Op was for a sum of Rs.2,269.27 including a sum of Rs.2,071/- for GPRS. That the Complainant was surprised by the unusual bill for the services not used. In fact Complainant has never carried the Data card or the laptop outside his premises at any point of time. But still Complainant paid the bill in protest. That on 25.7.2007, Complainant was shocked when he received a call from Op office intimating that there has been a unbilled usage charge of Rs.2,44,800/- for the period between 18th June to 3rd July invariably Complainant visited Op customer care on 26.7.2007 and requested to verify the correctness of the alleged calls. But Op Customer care never furnished any details. Later, on 26.7.2007, Op sent some hired recovery agents and goondas to Complainant’s premises, unlawfully demanding to make payment. Complainant then threatened to lodge police complaint, hence they left. Once again on the evening of 26.7.2007, a lady from Op’s office called up stating that there was some error and that she apologized for the inconvenience caused. Further, she requested Complainant to co-operate until the next bill on 6.7.2007 is generated. But surprisingly, Op’s agents once again on 27.7.2007, they visited Complainant’s residence and produced a false statement of the alleged outgoing calls made to a single number 0088213217362. The Complainant has not made any calls whatsoever from the said Data card and consequently the charges raised by the Op are false and bogus. That the Complainant is not liable to pay for the services not availed.

That while providing the service, Op never intimated Complainant as to the exact nature of the service and the various tariffs for the Data card usage. Op never disclosed that there was voice facility on the Data card and Complainant therefore had not given any express or implied consent for voice facility, etc. Further, Op has integrated option voice/GPRS/SMS facility on the Data card which Complainant never had any knowledge. In fact these value added services are optional only on express consent of a subscriber. The Complainant got issued a legal notice to the Op on 01.09.2007, but no reply is forthcoming. The Op has now sent a false bill dated 06.08.2007, of Rs.2,75,184.90 including for factitious ISD charges, for the period of July – August 2007. The bill is concocted and fraudulent prima facie. That no call details are disclosed in the bill. Further, the Complainant’s regular plan has been falsely modified to suit the alleged false bill.  That the Op is guilty of falsely claiming excess charges beyond he purview of the service agreed and availed by the Complainant. Hence, the Complainant approached this Forum.

Op appeared through its counsel filed its version and also gave evidence by way of affidavit. Complainant gave his evidence by way of affidavit. Heard arguments of the learned counsel for Complainant. Learned counsel for Op permitted to submit his written arguments.

Perused the material on record. It is an admitted fact the Complainant is a subscriber from Data card Broadband service of Op. The main contention of the learned counsel for Complainant he has availed to services of Op by paying recruit fee for Data card usage without voice. He has produced the receipt issued on the O to that effect. According to learned counsel for Op this Data card has got all the services such as voice/GPRS/SMSSTD/Local, hence the bill that are produced by the Complainant himself are correct and Complainant has made the calls on the said Data card and the charges raised by the Op is as per the usage of the Complainant and Complainant is liable to pay for the services availed by him.

Now the point for consideration is whether the Complainant has availed the services of voice and used the service of ISD as alleged by the Op. According to the Complainant he has not at all used the services and he is not liable to pay the claim amount. But that was denied by the Op. When we peruse the statement at Annexure-B produced by the Complainant it is a bald statement issued by the Op about the claim alleged to be made by the Complainant. This statement is commencing from 18.6.2007 to 03.07.2007 i.e., for 15 days. When we peruse the dialed Number from 18.6.2007 to 03.07.2007 are dialed to the same No.00882132117362 and maximum duration time limit has been consumed while calling to the said number. When we peruse the previous bills of the Complainant issued by the Op nowhere it has crossed the limit of Rs.1,200/- and the same has been exhibited on all the bills. When the Op alleges that the dial has been made to the particular ISD Number, it is the boundless duty of the Op to establish its case that the particular number to which the dial has been made, concerned to the Complainant. But except producing the bald statement the Op has not proved its case the claim of the Op under the Bill are genuine one. After issuing the legal notice only the Op issued another bill dated 6.8.2007 for Rs.2,75,462.63 and made the Complainant to approach this forum. The Op except claiming the amount as genuine it has not produced any other evidence to show that those ISD calls were made by the Complainant only. The Op has miserably failed to prove its claim under the bill dated 6.8.2007 and when it has failed to prove its case in respect of its claim, the Op cannot claim amount under the bill dated 6.8.2007. Whenever the customer seeking the details of the bills it is the boundless duty of the Op to furnish all the details in respect of calls made by the Complainant, but the Op has not furnished any details except claiming the amount. Non-furnishing the details by the Op definitely amount to deficiency in service and it cannot claim the amount under the bill.

In view of the discussions made above, we are of the opinion that the Complainant has proved the deficiency in service on the part of the Op. Accordingly we pass the following order.

O R D E R

Complaint is allowed. The bill issued by the Opposite Party dated 06.08.2007 claiming the amount of Rs.2,75,462.63 (Rs. Two Lakhs seventy five thousand four hundred sixty two and sixty three paise only) is hereby quashed. Opposite Party is at liberty to issue a fresh bill after calculating average amount of previous six months bills.

Opposite Party is further directed to pay an amount of Rs.2,000/- (Rs. Two thousand only) to the Complainant towards the cost of this litigation and this amount is paid to the Complainant within six weeks from the date of this order.

MEMBER                PRESIDENT

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