The Hyderabad District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has penalised online movie tickets aggregator BookMyShow and PVR Cinemas for levying 'unfair' internet handling charges on consumers. The consumer court has termed 'unfair' the charges, which are almost one-third of the ticket price.
Hyderabad resident Vijay Gopal, an RTI activist, had moved the consumer rights court back in 2019 against the ticket booking platforms for levying extra charges without explicit authorisation.
The consumer court which examined the case has directed PVR and BookMyShow to pay Rs 5,000 towards Consumer Legal Aid Account of the Hyderabad court. They will also have to pay Rs 25,000 as compensation to Vijay Gopal along with an additional Rs 1,000 towards litigation costs.
The Hyderabad District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed PVR Cinemas and BookMyShow not to levy extra charges amounting to more than Rs 6. This cap Rs 6 has been imposed as per rules in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, plus other applicable facilitation charges based on Section 6A of The IT Act, 2000.
The commission in its order said, "This Forum is constrained to hold that the additional amount of Rs.41.78/- per two tickets under the head "Internet Handling Charges"...amounts to unfair trade practice as defined under Sec.2(1)of the Consumer Protection Act”.
Vijay Gopal had filed a complaint against the online ticket booking portal in 2019 alleging that these were exploiting consumers by levying an extra gateway fee in the form of “internet handling charges.” He approached the Reserve Bank of India and the Department of Information Technology under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology through RTIs.
Vijay Gopal appreciated the court order and tweeted: "The stand of @Go_MeitY in the court was extremely irresponsible and ridiculous. After checking, I shall appeal against Rs 6. He added that if the Telangana government had not authorised any fee to be levied as internet handling charges, he would take the matter to the High Court.