The retired government employee had taken Reliance Communications Infrastructure Ltd to court for not repaying his deposit of Rs 250. The firm then offered him Rs 200 as out-of-court settlement. But Soni refused to back down.Holding Reliance liable for deficiency in service, the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (Ahmedabad Rural) in a recent order directed it to refund Rs 50 along with a compensation of Rs 1,000 for mental harassment and Rs 1,000 towards legal cost.
According to case details, Soni had been using a demo SIM card but decided to get the same mobile number permanently. He paid Rs 250 on September 15, 2011 for the same. “I was given a receipt and told that the number would be activated in a few days. When there was no activity till November 2011, I visited their office but the staff kept dilly-dallying. When the number remained inactive, I asked them to refund the amount. The staff told me that a cheque would be issued soon.
I kept waiting. They neither activated the number nor issued the cheque. When umpteen phone calls and repeated visits to their regional office at Prahladnagar yielded nothing, I decided to approach the consumer forum for justice,” said the senior citizen. Not only Soni registered a complaint against the telecom company on January 17, he also fought his own case. Reliance refunded Rs 200 to Soni on February 2. “They did not refund the entire amount. This irked me. Such firms cater to thousands of customers every day. If they fool even a few hundreds daily, they would be minting money. I decided to continue my fight, even if it was for just Rs 50,” he said.
Soni commuted from Ghatlodia to Sola to fight the case. “The heat was unbearable. But my cause was far bigger. Such companies should be taught a lesson for harassing customers,” he said. In its order of June 5, the consumer forum agreed that “by refunding Rs 200, Reliance Communication proved there was deficiency in service.”Said Soni, “I am satisfied with the judgment. Such orders will encourage other common people to fight for their rights. I am still to get my compensation. If it is not handed over to me within one month of the order, I will go in for an appeal. The fight does not end here.”