A consumer forum in Pune has ordered a consultant firm to refund Rs 15 lakh to two doctors from Gujarat. The complainants alleged that the firm had promised to get them admission in Germany, but had failed to do so. It was also alleged that the firm had not refunded the amount.
Dr Viral Patel had in 2014 filed a case against the International Health Management and Consulting (IHMC) in Shivajinagar. Dr Patel completed his MBBS in 2011 from a government medical college and intended to take admission in world’s best university for post-graduation course. He got in touch with the firm which quoted an amount of Rs 7.5 lakh. He was told that the process would take six months to complete.
The firm was directed to refund Rs 7.34 lakh with 9 per cent interest since the filing of the complaint in October 2014, besides paying Rs 10,000 as litigation cost.
Dr Naman Zala, who had completed MBBS in 2012, paid Rs 7.31 lakh to the consultant for PG admissions in Germany, but in vain. In his case, the forum ordered refund of Rs 7.31 lakh with 9 per cent interest since the date of complaint filling in 2014, besides payment of Rs 10,000 as litigation cost.
They signed an agreement on April 16, 2014, and the complainant paid Rs 7.34 lakh in instalments. However his application was not processed and the firm allegedly terminated the contract in September 2014.
Patel said in the complaint that “They had not sent me copies of bills and receipts. They were also not replying about the progress of the application. On September 14, 2014, they sent an e-mail containing a PDF file, titled, ‘Termination Letter-Dr Viral Patel’.
The company has however denied any misdoing. It said before the consumer forum that “There is a contractual obligation between the parties and hence, the consumer forum has no jurisdiction to entertain present dispute. There is no clause as regards refund of the amount mentioned in the termination letter and, therefore, the complainant is not entitled to the refund.
Further they stated that according to refundable clause (06) the consultant, IHMC will pay 70 per cent amount of the recruitment i.e. 8,147 Euro. We had shown readiness and willingness to refund the amount within 10 days. However, the complainant did not provide bank details. He had also filed a criminal complaint before the Deccan Gymkhana police station and tried to harass us. We had sent many aspiring medical professionals to Germany for further studies,” the firm further submitted.
The consumer forum however said that “the clause, as regards deduction of 30 per cent amount of the agreement cost, appears to (be) unilateral and unreasonable. The consultant had unilaterally terminated the agreement without any sufficient reason and refused to render the service, even after accepting a huge amount,” the forum ordered on July 19.