In Arun G Krishnan v Deepinder Goyal, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Kollam ordered the online food delivery app Zomato to pay a compensation of Rs. 8,362/- (Rupees Eight Thousand Three Hundred Sixty-Two) to a law student after the food orders placed by him were not delivered and the amount of the same was not refunded to him.
Parties No. 1 and 2 represent Zomato India Pvt. Ltd who are engaged in the food delivery business with the help of a website and mobile application. Party no. 3 is a manufacturer of food items that include vegetarian, non-vegetarian, and liquid edible items. These are sold through the mobile application and website.
On 7th August 2019 at about 8:17 pm the complainant had ordered one Chicken salt and pepper and three Kerala Parotha from party no. 3 using the Zomato App and paying the amount of Rs. 176/-(Rupees One hundred Seventy-Six only) to Zomato India Pvt Ltd with the order ID No.1363266067. But the food item was not delivered to the complainant nor was he refunded the amount he paid against the said order. So, he placed another order via order ID 1444021267 at about 9:27 pm and paid Rs.186/- (Rupees One Hundred Eighty-Six only) and that too was not delivered. He had communicated the same day with the respective representatives of the opposite parties but there was no aid provided to him. The Complainant stated that he had faced a similar experience with parties No. 1 and 2 when he stayed in New Delhi. That time the opposite parties gave the following reason for the non-delivery of the food items:
- The Food order could not be delivered as the complainant was unavailable to collect the food at the mentioned address.
- There was an issue with the complainant’s address and the Zomato App had asked him to provide them with the correct address.
- Lastly, the restaurant had already started preparing the order of the complainant so the opposite parties could not refund the amount of the food order.
Mr. Ashraf, who holds the position of Manager in Kings Restaurant admitted over the telephonic conversation that took place on 13th July 2021 at 11:34 am that he is aware of the said unfair, restrictive and fraudulent trade practices of Zomato India Pvt Ltd. He also stated that food delivery applications do this when they are facing heavy rush and rainfall.
The Complainant in a Notice asked for a compensation of Rs. 1,50,000/- (Rupees One Lakh Fifty Thousand only) in lieu of loss of value, mental pain, agony, and harassment and Rs. 10,000/- (Rupees Ten Thousand only) towards the legal proceedings. The said Notice was sent to Party No. 1 and 2 through e-mail which was not seen rejected and hence deemed as served.
The case was taken to court where the Complainant filed an affidavit and sent Five documents through post praying to accept them as evidence.
The documents contained:
- The certified copies of a bank statement reflecting the amounts debited from the bank account towards the bill payment of food for Zomato,
- A screenshot of the food order history status
- A downloaded email copy from Zomato stating non-delivery and denying refund for 1st order.
- A downloaded email copy from Zomato regarding order ID 1444021267.
The Court directed the opposite parties No. 1 to 3 the following:
- A refund of Rs. 362/- (Rupees Three Hundred Sixty-Two only) [Rs.176+186] with interest @ 9% p.a from the date of order till realization.
- A compensation of Rs. 5000/- (Rupees Five Thousand only) towards the mental agony of the Complainant.
- To pay Rs. 3000/- (Rupees Three Thousand only) towards the cost of legal proceedings.
The Parties were directed to pay the above within 45 days, failing to which the Complainant is entitled to recover the amount with interest of 12%.
Source: Bar and Bench