A Maharashtra consumer forum has directed tour operator Thomas Cook (India) to pay Rs 4 lakh to a city resident for "deficiency of service" and adopting "unfair trade practices".
Anant Korde had moved the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission after the company refused to pay him full refund upon cancellation of a Europe tour.
He had booked 'Grand Bargain Europe Tour' package for himself, his mother, wife and two children in May 2014.
Korde paid Rs 2,50,000 as advance for the tour, which was to begin from May 28, 2014. The total cost of the package was Rs 9,40,138.
The complaint said he wanted to travel by Eurostar train from London to Paris, which Thomas Cook agreed to arrange.
When the company said this could not be covered under the original package, Korde said he would pay extra for this segment of the tour.
Korde also wanted to know the details of hotels and train schedule to make arrangements for journey by Eurostar, but Thomas Cook informed him that details of hotel bookings would be available only seven days in advance, he claimed.
He alleged that later the company informed that there could not be any variation in the group tour, and the tour could not materialise for the family as there was no time for visa processing.
Thomas Cook also refused to return him the entire advance, and said he will be refunded Rs 1,62,374 after deducting cancellation charges, Korde said.
Korde then moved the consumer commission, seeking the full advance back.
Thomas Cook alleged that it was the complainant who cancelled the tour, so it was entitled to deduct cancellation charges.
The commission, in its ruling last week, rejected the claim and held that the tour operator was guilty of "deficiency in service".
"They (Thomas Cook) had given assurance and promise which they know since beginning could not be finalised. They adopted unfair trade practices," the commission observed.
It directed the company to refund the entire advance of Rs 2,50,000 with 9 per cent interest, plus another Rs 1 lakh towards "mental pain and agony" suffered by the family and the litigation cost.