Holding Vodafone India guilty of deficiency in service, Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has upheld a lower court order which asked the service provider to pay Rs. 20,000 compensation and Rs. 5,000 costs to a doctor for failing to stop unsolicited commercial communications.
"Vodafone had failed to discharge its obligation and acted with imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the nature and manner of purpose, which is required to be maintained by it under the regulations," observed S R Khanzode and Dhanraj Khamatkar in their order.
"Thus, deficiency in service within the meaning of section 2(1)(g) of the Act is well established as against Vodafone," the forum members further said while dismissing an appeal filed by Vodafone against the consumer court judgement.
Dr. Ashish Gala, who practices in suburban Mulund, had registered with Vodafone on the "Do not Call list". Yet, he got calls from various companies following which he filed a complaint with the service provider on August 30, 2008, saying Vodafone should have ensured that he did not get the calls.
Vodafone argued that it was not deficient in service as under Telecom and Solicited Commercial Communications Regulations, 2007, there is no positive obligation on them to stop unsolicited commercial calls.
In fact, Vodafone said, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India did not contemplate and acknowledge the fact that such communication or unsolicited communication calls cannot be stopped entirely.
Vodafone further contended that as per explanatory memorandum issued to clause 16 of the Regulations, 15 days time is provided for a subscriber for making the complaint to his service provider in respect of unsolicited commercial communications. However, the complainant, Dr. Gala, had failed to make any such complaint within a fortnight.