A Retake on Refund of Cancellation of Travel Tickets

Must Read

What is the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016?

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (“RERA”) is an Act of the Parliament. It seeks to protect...

Should the Exorbitant Amounts Charged for RT-PCR Tests be Refunded?

Introduction A plea has been filed in the Honourable Supreme Court of India seeking a refund of exorbitant amounts charged...

Should CCTV’s be Installed in the Police Station?

Introduction In a recent judgment, the bench led by Justice Nariman issued directions to both the state and Union Territory...

A Legal Analysis of the West Bengal Political Crisis on IPS Deputation

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has recently summoned three IPS officers of West Bengal (WB). The decision was...

Explained: Postal Ballot for NRIs

At the end of November 2020, Election Commission sent a proposal to the law ministry to amend the Representation...

Explained: Constitutional Provisions and Legislations With Regards to a Person with Disabilities

The world celebrates December 3 as International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). This day is also called World...
Justice For Youhttp://www.sunilmallan.com
We, at Justice For You, strive to be a preeminent law firm, by consistently delivering highly-skilled, ethical and aggressive legal representation to our clients.

Follow us

Abstract

Consumers and service providers play an important role in every aspect of work life. It can also be seen in the railways and airlines where the commuters book their ticket either through their portal or a third-party book for them. While booking the tickets they are asked to pay the amount for service charges and the sales tax. The problem arises when the ticket is to be cancelled. Commuters get a refund on the cancellation of the ticket, deducting the amount of service charge levied on it. This is where commuters are deprived of their right to get a ticket full refund as they have not used their service.

Here, the question arises millions of people booked their ticket online and many of them either himself cancelled or the train or airline itself get cancelled in both cases commuters didn’t receive the full amount of refund. Is it right the amount deducted by these authorities as a convenience fee while cancelling a ticket? So, to know the policy and law behind it and the deduction by the airline and train authority are reasonable or not can be answered in this article. This article talks about the problems which the commuters are facing which are being neglected by everyone and also provide some suggestions on it.

Introduction

Train and the airline are important speedy transport where we can reach our destination as fast as compared to other means of transportation. Commuters are the person who travelled through this means of transportation. So, commuters and these service providers are interlinked to each other. However, the most preferable means of transport for middle-class commuters are the train where they book their ticket either through the IRCTC portal or ticket counter. And in case we want to travel a long distance in a few hours, an airline is preferable. Commuters book their ticket mainly through a third-party website, where they have a different policy of refund.

However, millions of people booked their ticket through various platforms before two-three months and in the meantime on the day on which commuters want to travel receive a text message of the cancelled train and in case of an airline, they receive a day before or where the commuters himself wants to cancel the ticket before the cancellation policy, then also they didn’t receive a refund from these authorities.

Problems Faced By Passengers

Train Ticket Cancellation

  1. Railway Refund rules provide for a refund of the total amount in case the train gets delayed for more than three hours. However, for availing this facility the passenger who has booked an e-ticket shall file an online TDR whereas the passenger with counter ticket shall surrender the ticket at the journey commencing station before the actual departure of the train. The rule disregards certain unavoidable circumstances in which it is impossible for the passenger to timely file a TDR or surrender a ticket. Passengers already suffer so much due to late running trains which become two-fold if they are deprived of the refund amount because of railway authorities straightaway showing them the rule books.
  2. The continuing problem which has been evident from various cases filed before the adjudicating authorities are the deficiency of service on the part of the railway authorities in providing timely and correct information to the passengers about the cancellation of trains. It has been reported in numerous cases that the passenger has been misinformed or not informed about the train cancellation. According to the latest refund rules, if a train gets cancelled then a full refund of the ticket fare shall be made irrespective of confirmed, waitlisted, or RAC tickets. In case of e-tickets, the refund shall be automatically initiated online to the registered account used for booking and there lies no need to file TDR whereas in case of counter tickets the refund shall be collected from the PRS counters for which cancellation must be done within 72 hours after the departure of the train by the passenger.

But this is not the same done in real, the railways provide a refund after deducting the charges and sales tax for which the commuters had not availed for it.

  1. The amendment made to the Refund Rules 1998 in 2015 almost doubled the cancellation charges for both the reserved as well as non-reserved tickets. This was done to increase the amount of revenue earned on the tickets to meet its future goals. With the same intent, the ministry of railways on 31st December 2019 notified a marginal increase in train fares for all the classes except for sub-urban fare and season tickets. The increase in ticket fare may seem reasonable to many people but the increase in cancellation charges has attracted immense criticism especially from the commuters travelling in the sleeper and general classes.

The cancellation charges for commuters travelling in sleeper classes have been elevated from Rs.60 to Rs.120 and for those travelling in general class, the fare has been hiked from Rs. 30 to Rs.60. The amendment seems to be an unreasonable and narrow move as the government has ignored various other sources of revenue generation and has overburdened the passengers travelling in the lower class.

According to the recently revised base fare table of 2020-21, the ticket cost in general class ranges from Rs.30 to Rs.100 for the distance ranging between 1 to 300 kilometres. Similarly, the ticket cost for the sleeper class ranges from Rs.40 to Rs.180 for the same distance range. So, for example, a person travelling up-to 200 kilometres in sleeper class books a ticket of Rs.120, and due to some reason, he was not able to take the journey. Now if he wants to cancel the ticket and get a refund, he will get nothing as the cancellation charge is equal to the ticket amount. This is the same with the short distance commuters travelling in a general class where the cancellation charges are either more than the ticket amount or more than half of the ticket amount. In such a case the passenger will abstain from cancelling the ticket because discouraging cancellation charges and suffer unwarranted loss.

Secondly, most of the travellers in the lower classes belong to the low or middle-income group. If they had been wealthy enough, they would have booked the tickets in upper classes which are clean, safe, hygienic, and less crowded.

Airline Ticket Cancellation

  • The common cost for a domestic flight ticket ranges from Rupees 4000 – 6000. The cancellation charges range between Rs.3000 – 3500 which is further increased if a person has used an agency for booking thus becoming more than half of the ticket price and hence ultimately causing loss to customers. The passengers are exploited unfairly with such exorbitant cancellation charges in addition to some non-refundable amounts like convenience fees and meal charges.
  • Each airline has a separate set of cancellation policies which makes it puzzling for a common man to understand and act accordingly.
  • Most airlines assure the customer to inform them through phone or e-mails in case of unforeseen delay or cancellation of flights but most of the time it is not the case and customers come to know when it is too late causing many problems.
  • Most airlines offer to provide a full refund or alternative booking if the delay or preponement of the flight exceeds certain fixed hours but the reality seems to be different.
  • The non-refundable meal charge on cancellation of flight ticket seems to be unreasonable and unfounded. If the cost of preparing the meal is not incurred if the passenger does not avail this service then charging him for it is arbitrary.
  • The deduction of the promo code used or discount availed at the time of booking is also unreasonable as the customer does not force these online agencies to provide these coupons but these offers are provided as a part of their business strategy to attract more and more customers. Thus, it looks like a customer is unreasonably punished for withdrawing the services of the agency.

Refund on Cancelled Ticket in Pandemic Situation

Railway had issued an order for relaxing refund rules for the passengers who had booked their tickets in the lockdown. In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in the country to avoid crowding on trains and encourage social distancing, the train is being cancelled and the passengers who have booked through online or offline mode will be provided with a full refund of the ticket.

But the situation is different, commuters are not provided with a full refund in return, they get the amount after deducting the convenience fee and the GST. And the law says that if we don’t use any service, for that service charge cannot be levied. Here, the same case lies where the commuters have not travelled through the train and have not used any service then why service charge and sales tax are levied? And in the million population, where commuters mainly of small distance traveller or low-income group have to deduct on the ticket, the service fee as the same as that of the ticket.

In the situation where people have to left their jobs are left with no money in this three-month lockdown. It has also been seen that economy had got down due to the closure of many factories. With the increase in the cases in the whole country, it is impossible to normalize the economy as day to day increase in cases would lead people not to get out of the home for the work. And the industries are facing problems because of no labour worker or any staff to handle. However, in this situation, they get a minimal amount of refund after deducting the service charges which equals half the ticket amount.

Recommendations

  • It is recommended that any conditions levied for availing full refund amount due to cancellation or late running of trains shall be abolished as both of these happenings are solely attributable to the management system of railway authorities and the passenger has nothing to do with it.
  • That the railway authorities shall provide an efficient and accurate information system for the passengers so that additional loss and hardships incurred by them can be avoided. This step can also help in increasing customer satisfaction and building customer’s trust in the system which will have a positive impact on its growth.
  • It is recommended that the amendment made to increase the cancellation charges for lower classes of railways shall be withdrawn and earlier charges shall be restored. Instead of overburdening the lower and middle-income groups, the government shall concentrate on other possible solutions for revenue generation.
  • That the railway shall refund the full amount which here means, amount with GST and convenience fee. As the passengers had not used the service of travelling by it due to the cancellation of the train. They should be provided with a full refund which is neither provided in this pandemic situation also. They deduct the convenience fee paid on the ticket.

Conclusion

The concept of service quality is built by the fundamental aspects of tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. This structure is universally accepted and followed by many service industries. The current study is focusing to find the service quality of airline services. The airline services are completely different from other transport services due to its nature and complexity. The various elements of service quality have deep-rooted relationships among them and help to explore overall service quality. The airline services are complex due to their continuous and sequential order. From ticket booking to baggage reclaim there are plenty of systematic mechanisms. In each sequential order, the passengers are expecting better quality in services. From the service point of view, the expectation of services will vary from passenger to passenger. The expectations will be fulfilled according to the perceived satisfaction of passengers. Therefore, satisfaction is the ultimate point which shows the quality of service. In this study, it is identified that the passenger’s expectations in case of ticket booking and refund of the ticket are very high. These are all some important elements that are highly influencing the passengers to decide their travel and airline service provider. It is identified that perceived satisfaction is the predominant factor which leads to decide the level of service quality.

References

  1. The New Indian Express visited on 20/07/2020 at 5.30 pm.

https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2020/jun/04/paper-ticket-holders-can-get-refund-from-friday-for-trains-cancelled-during-lockdown-2152232.html

  1. Live mint visited on 21/07/2020 at 8.30 am

https://www.livemint.com/news/india/irctc-new-ticket-refund-rules-explained-as-indian-railways-cancels-all-trains-till-june-end-11589437519219.html

  1. Shodhganga visited on 21/07/2020 at 12.10 pm

https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/197961/12/12_chapter%203.pdf

  1. Shodhganga visited at 22/07/2020 at 11.55 am

https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/45030/11/11_chapter%206.pdf


The authors of this article are Sunil Mallan and Priyanka Porwal. Mr Mallan is an advocate who has been practising before the Honourable Supreme Court of India, The Punjab & Haryana High Court and other Courts and Tribunals. He is also a solicitor, corporate lawyer, certified Corporate Consultant and Business Professional 18 years of experience. The authors can be reached at [email protected]


Libertatem.in is now on Telegram. Follow us for regular legal updates and judgment from courts. Follow us on Google News, InstagramLinkedInFacebook & Twitter. You can subscribe to our Weekly Email Updates. You can also contribute stories like this and help us spread awareness for a better society. Submit Your Post Now.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest News

“Anganwadi Centers to Be Reopened Outside the Containment Zones, Which Is to Be Decided by the State”: Supreme Court

This case concerns the reopening of the Anganwadi Centers after they had been closed due to the lockdown being imposed.  Brief facts of the case This...

“Credit Facilities Being Granted by the Primary Agricultural Credit Society to the Non-Members Is No Longer Illegal”: Supreme Court

This Case concerns the dispute relating to the grant of tax exemption under Section 80P of the Income Tax Act, 1961.  Brief facts of the...

Back Wages of Labourers is a Question of Facts Depending Upon Various Factors: Gujarat High Court

The petition has been filed by workmen and employer against an award dated 23.04.2009 passed by the Labour Court, Bhuj in the case of...

WhatsApp Messages Would Have No Evidentiary Value Until They Are Certified According to Section 65b of the Indian Evidence Act: Punjab & Haryana High...

Brief facts of the case Paramjit Kaur, the proprietor of Brioshine Pharma, a licensed chemist, booked two consignments. The first consignment, on 10.06.2020 and the,...

Delhi High Court Seeks Response From Centre, RBI in PIL to Regulate Online Lending Platforms

A notice had been issued by the Delhi HC in a PIL that sought regulation of online lending platforms (Dharanidhar Karimojji vs UOI). Brief Facts: The...

“Consensual Affair” Cannot Be Defence Against the Charge of Kidnapping of the Minor, Sentence Reduced in View of Age Difference: Supreme Court

This Case concerns the appeal against the conviction under the charges of kidnapping and discussed whether the punishment was to be enhanced or not.   Brief...

Delhi HC to Municipal Corp: Paucity of Funds Not an Excuse for Non-Payment of Salaries and Pensions

The Delhi High Court ruled that the paucity of funds cannot be an excuse and pulled up municipal corporations for not paying salaries and pensions to their employees as the right to receive payment is a fundamental right guaranteed in our constitution.

US Supreme Court Reinstates Restriction on Abortion Pills

The Supreme Court of the United States granted the Trump administration’s request to reinstate federal rules requiring women to make in-person visits to hospitals...

Supreme Court Upheld “Environmental Rule of Law” in NGT Decision to Demolish Illegal Hotel on Forest Land

This case concerns the dispute relating to the additional construction of hotel-cum-restaurant structure in the Bus Stand Complex along with a bus stand and...

UK Supreme Court Rules in Favour of Policyholders in the COVID-19 Business Interruption Case

The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court finally concluded the long-awaited COVID-19 business interruption case brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Hiscox Action...

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -