District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (DCDRC), Ernakulam: While deciding the instant consumer complaint wherein the complainant had raised grievance against a reputed multi-cuisine restaurant for its failure to deliver ‘Onam Sadya’; the Bench of D.B. Binu (President) and V. Ramachandran and Sreevidhia T.N (Members) held that the restaurant’s serious deficiency in service has caused the complainant mental agony, inconvenience, hardship and financial loss. The Commission directed the restaurant to pay Rs 40,000 to the complainant as compensation towards the agony and hardship sustained by the complainant due to the restaurant’s failure to deliver ‘Onam Sadya’.
The complainant whose husband is an army officer, had invited a high- ranking army officer and his family for lunch on occasion of Thiruonam. The complainant had booked 5 “Special Onam Sadya” from Maze Restaurant after being carried away by advertisements made by the restaurant. The complainant had booked the order on 16-08-2021, which was to be delivered on 21-08-2021 on Thiruonam day. The booking was done after paying the entire amount of Rs 1295 in advance as demanded by the restaurant. The payment was done via G-pay and the restaurant made assurances to the complainant that the ‘Sadya’ will be delivered to her flat on the stipulated day by 11:30 am.
On a bonafide expectation of delivery, the complainant informed her guests to come around 1 PM. Furthermore, believing the restaurant’s assurances, the complainant did not cook any other food on Thiruonam day. However, the restaurant was not able to deliver the ‘Sadya’ at 11:30 am and when the complainant made a reminder call, the restaurant informed her that ‘Sadya’ will be delivered at any rate on 12:30 pm. Once again, the restaurant failed to deliver the ‘Sadya’ and in the meantime, the complainant’s guests had also arrived, thereby putting her in an awkward situation.
The restaurant stopped picking up the complainant’s calls from the mobile and she had to contact their landline number. She was informed that delay was caused due to some confusion, but now the ‘Sadya’ will be delivered soon. Once more the complainant upon believing their assurances, started waiting for the ‘Sadya’ along with the guests. But time passed and no delivery was made, and the restaurant stopped picking up complainant’s calls.
By 3:00 pm, when it was clear that Maze Restaurant would not be able to deliver ‘Sadya’, the complainant and her aged father-in-law frantically started searching for other options, but they found no success. As a result, the guests had to leave the complainant’s house dejected and without any food and the complainant and her father-in-law had to consume previous day’s leftovers on Thiruonam day. Adding insult to injury, the restaurant messaged the complainant in the evening and made excuses for non-delivery and offered to refund the amount.
This ordeal motivated the complainant to reach the Commission, seeking refund of the money spent while booking the ‘Sadya’ along with monetary compensation for the mental agony faced by her.
Commission’s Assessment and Directions:
The Commission perused the facts and evidence presented before it. Based on the G-pay receipt, it was stated that the complainant is a ‘consumer’ as defined under Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
The Commission also noted that the opposite party i.e., the restaurant did not make any attempt to appear in the case. The Commission pointed out that the restaurant’s failure to file their written version of events despite having received the Commission’s notice, amounts to admission of allegations levelled against them. Thus, the complainant’s case stands unchallenged.
The Commission observed that every Malayali has sentimental attachment towards ‘Thiruonam Sadya’; therefore, waiting for a long time and eventually not getting the ‘Sadya’ can be quite frustrating.
Thus, the Commission held that Maze Restaurant is liable to compensate the complainant for the non-delivery of ‘Sadya’ and causing her immense physical harassment and mental agony.
The Commission directed the restaurant to compensate the complainant and also to refund the money spent on the booking of the 5 ‘Sadyas’. The restaurant was also directed to pay the cost of proceedings to the complainant.
[Bindya V. Suthan v. Maze Restaurant, CC No. 339/2021, decided on 30-03-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Complainant- Rajesh Vijayedran, Advocate.