NCDRC | What is the scope of courier service provider’s liability for a lost cheque? Commission considers

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): Anup K. Thakur (Presiding Member), addressed a complaint wherein a person who had sent a cheque through a courier service was lost and he claimed compensation of the same amount as was mentioned in the cheque as the amount was also credited.

State Commissions Order has been challenged in the present revision petition which partly allowed the Opposite Party against the District Commission’s Order.

What transpired the present case?

Complainant had sent a packet containing account payee cheque through OP [Trackon Couriers (P) Ltd.], which was not delivered to the addressee. However, the cheque amount was credited from the complainant’s account.

Complainant in view of the above alleged that this happened due to the negligent act of OP, which resulted in the loss of Rs 88,500 to the complainant.

What did the State Commission Order?

“We have heard the learned counsel for the parties and have also gone through the record. It is evident from the affidavits and other documentary evidence produced by the OP-appellant that the complainant had not declared the contents of the packet nor did he get the same insured for Rs. 88500/. for which the account payee cheque is alleged to have been kept in the packet. Further, the terms and conditions of the courier service clearly provided that no such contents like blank or account payee cheque shall be sent through the courier.”

“Further, the complainant did not implead either the bank or the person who actually got the account payee cheque credited in favour as party to the complaint, nor did he file any affidavit to that effect. Therefore, the appellant courier company cannot be held liable for the ultimate loss suffered by the complainant, as its liability is only limited to the extent of the amount of fee charged from the complainant. In the present case, the complainant has himself said in the opening para of his complaint that he paid Rs. 20/- in cash while getting the courier booked. Therefore, at best the appellant -OP is liable to pay four times the amount paid by the complainant as mentioned in the Terms and Conditions.”

Decision of the Commission

Coram stated that the State Commission correctly invoked the condition 2 of Termas and Conditions of the courier service which provided that,

“…items such as currency, bearer cheque, etc. would not be items loss of which would make the company liable to pay any claim arising therefrom.”

The above-stated terms and conditions are standard in nature and the complainant ought not to have sent the cheque through courier. And certainly not without a declaration and without taking insurance for the same. This was negligent on the part of the complainant. Op cannot be held accountable and liable for this.

It was also noted that an account payee cheque by law can only get credited to the account of the person named and to a different account only if it so endorsed. Therefore, if the account payee cheque got credited to a different account, it is this which has to be explained by the Bank, not by the OP.

Concluding, its decision, Commission stated that there was a deficiency in service in as much as the parcel was not delivered to the designated addressee, for which the courier has to compensate the complainant; however, this has to be as per terms and conditions of the contract. 

Hence, State Commission’s Order was affirmed. [Rikhab Jain v. Trackon Couriers (P) Ltd., 2020 SCC OnLine NCDRC 481, decided on 06-10-2020]

One comment

  • Great reporting/Article on Courier and Bank’s liability

    I find that the tag ” CONSUMER” missing on the right bottom of the article.

    request to add the tag enabling ease in search of consumer cases reported.

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