New Delhi: DLF Ltd has been directed by a consumer forum here to pay Rs 1.5 lakh to an allottee as compensation for its "unfair trade practice" of not refunding money paid for booking a flat which was not handed over in time.
The New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum said the complainant was right to seek refund as construction had not been completed in time and DLF's act of not returning the money and using it to "fuel litigation" and "enrich itself" amounted to "unfair trade practice".
"Admittedly, opposite party (DLF) could not construct in given time and sought more time... In the given situation, he (complainant) had freedom to not to go along with altered plan of opposite party and rightly sought refund in 2009 and till now in 2013 he finds DLF reluctant to refund his money and using it to fuel litigation to exhaust him in legal tangles.
"We very strongly condemn the illegal attitude. Opposite party has only tried to enrich itself by unfair practice by abuse of its dominant position and has tarnished its image in the perception of court and public by refusing to be fair to its customers," a bench presided by C K Chaturvedi said.
It directed DLF to refund all deposits made by Delhi resident Salesh Kumar Mangla and to pay him Rs 1.5 lakh as compensation.
Mangla had alleged in his complaint that he had booked a flat in 2008 in DLF's 'New Town Heights' residential project in Gurgaon by paying booking amount and five instalments.
The flat was to be handed over in two years, but as DLF could not complete the work, he had sought refund, he said, adding that instead of refunding his money, the real estate major had sought more time to hand over the flat and also changed the payment scheme to keep him interested.
DLF, while admitting delay in construction and change of scheme to woo registrants, had contended the complaint was frivolous.
The forum rejected DLF's contention saying "it (DLF) wants to retain the money as long as possible by using due process of law to exhaust the complainant rather than simply refunding his deposits."
First Published: Thursday, August 22, 2013, 14:43