BSNL told to pay up : After a 12 year fight

Refund fight lasts 12 yrs

Consumer Commission Orders BSNL To Pay Up

Supriya Bhardwaj | TNN


Chandigarh: Ram Singh Paul, 55, had applied for a domestic telephone connection to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in 1996 by depositing Rs 3,000. The telecom firm kept the Model Town Extension resident in the waiting list, which never really ended. Each time he approached the telephone service provider for installation, he was asked to wait.

However, his patience began to wean in 2001, when he asked the company to either install the phone or refund the security amount deposited by him. Alleging that neither did Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited made the refund nor installed the phone, Paul moved a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act.

The UT state consumer commission recently held that the telephone at Paul’s residence was never made operational, indicating deficiency in service on the part of the company.

Setting aside the impugned order passed by district forum, the UT state commission, headed by justice KC Gupta, allowed the appeal and directed the telecom biggie to refund Rs 3,000 as security amount along with 12% interest and Rs 2,100 as litigation costs.

Holding that telephone company failed to prove that telephone connection at Paul’s residence was made operational, the commission, while taking note of three bills placed before it, held, ‘‘It is quite clear that there are no details of the metered calls and further there is no reference of any unpaid bills. The bills produced (before forum) have been fabricated to cover up the lapse on the part of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited.’’

A notice was issued to the telephone company, and in its written statement, the firm stated that the complaint was time barred. It added a telephone connection was installed and rather

Paul defaulted in making payment of telephone bills. After hearing the arguments, district consumer forum dismissed the complaint in September 2003.

Hoping against hope, Paul moved an appeal in state commission, which was accepted on November 18.
CALLING TROUBLE
January 1996
Paul applied for domestic telephone connection with BSNL
November 2001
Sought refund of security amount
September 2003
Consumer forum dismissed Paul’s complaint
November 2008
State commission directed BSNL to refund Rs 3,000 along with interest and litigation costs

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