Friday, February 19, 2021

AAI told to pay for Rs 185 excess charge

Ahmedabad: A consumer court ordered the Airports Authority of India Ltd (AAI) to refund the extra money charged for parking at the city airport three years ago and pay Rs 3,500 as compensation to a retired Army officer.

The amount overcharged was a meagre Rs 185, but the retired defence official put his foot down and decided to highlight the AAI’s arbitrary decision to levy parking charges. He fought the legal battle and presented his case before the consumer court even while undergoing cancer treatment.

In this case, retired lieutenant colonel Shyamsundar Panigrahi kept his car in the parking area at SVP International Airport at Ahmedabad for 9 hours and 20 minutes on November 26, 2018 when he flew to Pune and returned. He was charged Rs 440 as parking fees.

After he went home, he noticed the charge-rate on the AAI portal and found out that he was made to pay Rs 185 extra. He met the airport manager and presented his case and requested that he correct the system to charge parking fees, but did not get a positive response.

Panigrahi sued the airports authority with the Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, Ahmedabad District (Rural) complaining that he was made to pay excess parking charges. The actual parking fee for nine hours should have been Rs 255, but he had to pay Rs 440. Moreover, the receipt did not mention any breakup of GST.

The airport authority defended itself and maintained that the amount collected from the retired defence official was not more than the real charge. In fact, parking charges at airports are different in different cities and they depend on traffic. The authority submitted that the consumer was liable to pay Rs 480 for the time his vehicle remained parked in the airport’s parking area.

19/02/21 Times of India

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