Consumer Commission Orders Compensation for Tour Disruption by Thomas Cook

Bengaluru's Consumer Commission orders Thomas Cook to compensate ₹3 lakh for tour disruption, citing visa delays. Thomas Cook to pay within two months.

In a recent ruling, the Additional District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission in Bengaluru has directed tour and travel company Thomas Cook to compensate a customer with ₹3 lakh for failing to ensure visa approval and air tickets within the scheduled time, despite receiving payment. Commission President B Narayanappa and Members Jyothi N and Sharavathi SM observed that the service provided by the travel company was deficient.

"OP has failed to get the visas approved and air tickets booked well within the departure date which results in missing the London part of the tour to the complainant and his family which is nothing but deficiency in service on the part of the OP therefore, OP. is liable to compensation to the complainant and his family members apart from compensation OP is also liable to pay cost of litigation and interest," the Commission remarked.

The complainant, identified as Rudramurthy K, filed a complaint against Thomas Cook seeking compensation of ₹4 lakh, along with ₹2 lakh for mental agony and injury and ₹50,000 for litigation expenses. He had booked four tickets with the travel company for a tour of the United Kingdom and Europe in May-June 2023.

The complainant alleged that the company omitted the main part of the tour, London, and concluded the tour prematurely within 12 nights and 13 days instead of the scheduled 14 nights and 15 days. Furthermore, he claimed that the provided accommodation and food were unsatisfactory.

In its defense, Thomas Cook contended that it only facilitates visas and does not control the decisions made by the Embassy/Consulate regarding passport release dates with visas. The UK Embassy approved the visas only on the evening of May 24, whereas the flight to London was scheduled for that morning. Consequently, the air tickets were rescheduled for May 26, and the family flew to Paris.

The company asserted that appropriate arrangements were made for the remaining portion of the Europe trip, which the complainant's family enjoyed. As a gesture of goodwill, it reduced the rescheduling charges.

Considering the circumstances, the Commission acknowledged that the cancellation of the London trip was beyond the company's control. However, it emphasized that the company should have taken precautions to ensure timely visa approval and air ticket bookings.

As a result, the Commission allowed the complaint and directed Thomas Cook to pay compensation of ₹2,00,000 to the complainant, along with ₹1,00,000 towards deficiency in service, and litigation costs of ₹5,000 with interest @ 10% p.a. within two months from the date of the order.

Advocate Prashant T Pandit represented the complainant, while Advocate S Ramakrishnan appeared for Thomas Cook.