Pune: The District Consumer Forum has ordered a city-based consultant firm to refund Rs 15 lakh to two doctors from Gujarat, whom it promised to get post graduate (PG) admission in Germany but failed to do so and didn’t return the amount.
The first case was filed in 2014 by Dr Viral Patel, against Dr Shamika Bidkar’s 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. After enquiring with the consultant, he was informed that he can be admitted to post-graduation course in the desired branch in Germany and that learning German language is not a condition. The firm quoted 8,990 Euros, which was approximately Rs 7.5 lakhs, for this purpose.
According to the complaint, it was assured that process will be completed within 6 to 8 months. They signed an agreement on April 16, 2014, and the complainant paid Rs 7.34 lakh in instalments. The complainant was also learning German language, and also passed next level examination and shared a copy of the certificate with the consultant. However, his application was not processed and the consultant terminated the contract unilaterally in September 2014.
“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 contract was terminated unilaterally,” Patel stated in his complaint.
The company denied any deficiency in service. “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. 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 consultant submitted before the forum.
The forum held the consultant responsible for deficiency in service. “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.
The consultant 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.
Similarly, 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.