Rs 5 Lakh Penalty On Airtel For Harrassing Customer Over Unpaid Bills


Mohul Ghosh

Mohul Ghosh

Jul 06, 2024


The Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC) recently upheld a ₹5 lakh penalty imposed on Airtel for harassing a customer with phone calls and disconnecting his services over unpaid dues, despite the amount having been duly paid.

Rs 5 Lakh Penalty On Airtel For Harrassing Customer Over Unpaid Bills

The case, [Bharti Airtel Limited V. Jasmeet Singh Puri (Deceased)], involved Airtel’s failure to provide adequate services and subsequent harassment of a customer.

Negligence and Harassment

A coram of State Commission President Dr. Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal and Judicial Member Pinki noted that Airtel was negligent and used its position to harass the customer. Airtel’s appeal against the district consumer forum’s 2014 ruling was dismissed by the SCDRC on July 1, 2023. The commission upheld the fine for deficiency in service.

Incident Details

In March 2013, the customer purchased internet and landline services from Airtel and paid the due amount of ₹4,995 via cheque. Airtel claimed the cheque was dishonored and started harassing the customer with phone calls. The customer confirmed through bank statements that the payment had been credited to Airtel’s account, but Airtel did not acknowledge it and disconnected the services in May 2013, demanding an additional payment of ₹7,549.

Consumer Complaint and Forum’s Decision

Aggrieved, the customer filed a complaint with the district consumer disputes redressal forum. Despite providing evidence of the payment, Airtel continued harassing the customer. The district forum, in September 2014, found Airtel’s conduct unacceptable and ordered the company to pay ₹5 lakhs as punitive compensation, with ₹3 lakhs to the customer and ₹2 lakhs to the State Consumer Welfare Fund.

Commission’s Findings

The SCDRC, while dismissing Airtel’s appeal, noted that Airtel did not provide evidence of any inquiry into the customer’s complaints. Moreover, Airtel failed to stop the harassment even after receiving multiple complaints from the customer. The commission found Airtel’s actions to be a clear deficiency in service and upheld the district forum’s decision.


Mohul Ghosh
Mohul Ghosh
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