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Bengaluru advocate sues hotel for rounding off bill

BENGALURU: A city-based advocate and activist has approached Bangalore Rural and Urban Ist Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission with a complaint against a hotel for rounding off his bill to the nearest rupee and shortchanging him of 40 paise in the process.

Activist T Narasimha Murthy, who filed the complaint under Section 35 of the Consumer Protection Act 2019, stated he visited the hotel near Infantry Road in March this year and his bill totalled 264.60. However, it was rounded off to Rs 265, something which Murthy terms an unfair trade practice. Seeking an explanation, he approached the hotel manager and others, but failed to receive a satisfactory answer. Requests made by Murthy to show directions or orders passed in this regard were also futile. “If the hotel collects an excess amount to the extent of 40 paise or 50 paise on the actual bill, it will earn lakhs of rupees annually by cheating innocent customers,” Murthy claimed.

The commission heard the matter on Friday and adjourned it to August 20.

“Perused the complaint and documents…The complainant is directed to take the photo of the notice prepared by this office in his mobile and send/deliver it to the opposite party personally or through WhatsApp and SMS to the effect of filing of the complaint, its register number and date for appearance,” the commission’s order read.

PC Rao, president, Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association, said, “I will refrain from making any comments since the matter is sub-judice.”

However, another hotelier told TOI there was no malafide intention behind rounding off the bill amount. “Since 50 paise coin or other coins of denominations less than Re 1 are not in use, we round off the amount to the nearest rupee. For example, if the bill totals Rs 264.50, we will round it off to Rs 264,” he said.

Asked whether everyone follows the same rule, he said: “We are not sure. We will discuss the matter in our next association meeting.”