DELHI: Real estate developer Emaar MGF Land Ltd has been directed by the apex consumer forum to refund Rs 2.4 lakh to a man for "deficiency" in service in connection with booking of a residential plot in Mohali.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) directed Emaar MGF to "refund Rs 2,40,000 only to the complainant from the date of filing of the complaint within 60 days otherwise it will carry interest at 9 per cent per annum till recovery".
A bench of presiding officer J M Malik and S M Kantikar passed the order on Chandigarh resident Rajbeer Singh's plea against forfeiture of Rs 3 lakh deposited by him with the company as initial payment against the cost of Rs 46 lakh for booking a residential floor in one of its housing projects in Mohali Hills.
The NCDRC ordered refund of Rs 2.4 lakh after deducting 20 per cent of the registration amount.
In his plea, Singh had said he booked the residential floor and paid Rs 3 lakh via cheque in September 2008. In April 2009, the company informed him about the provisional allotment and assured him that the construction would start in a month but it failed to keep its commitments.
Singh said his letters and legal notice requesting refund of the amount went in vain. He said he was told by the company that he was to sign the buyer's cheque agreement, failing which the deposited amount was to be forfeited.
It said in the event of non-signing of buyer's agreement by him and his failure to return the same within 30 days, the earnest money deposited hy him stood forfeited.
The District and State Forum dismissed his complaint. The NCDRC considered the submission of Singh's counsel that he never received the buyers agreement. Hence, the question of signing and returning the agreement within 30 days from the date of receipt did not arise at all.
While Singh's counsel contended that the amount paid by him was not earnest money but advance towards the initial payment, Emaar submitted that it was equal in nature of earnest money.
The NCDRC, however, said, "The complainant never signed the buyers agreement hence the company has no right to forfeit the amount deposited by him on account of booking residential floor...It is deficiency in service and unfair trade practice."