Car Stolen From Valet Parking? Hotel Is Responsible, Even If Parking Is Free: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has declared that hotel owners will be responsible if the customers park their cars in their parking lot and are damaged or stolen. The safety of the car is the hotel’s responsibility no matter what the parking lot ticket says.
Taj Mahal Hotel in Delhi filed an appeal wherein they stated that the hotel owners will not be responsible for the cars that have been parked in the parking lot of the hotel.
Find out more about the Supreme Court’s decision right here!
Hotel Owners Shirk Off Responsibility of Stolen Car; Supreme Court Rules Against
In 1998, there was a car theft that happened at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Delhi, which led to the hotel filing and appeal. The guest whose car was stolen had given his Maruti car to a valet at about 11 on the night of August 1, 1988, for parking. However, when he returned, the car was stolen.
When asked, the hotel staff said that a young man had grabbed the car keys from the holder and took off with the car.
The guest was handed a parking tag that said: Important condition: This vehicle is being parked at the request of the guest at his own risk and responsibility in or outside the Hotel premises. In the event of any loss, theft or damage, the management shall not be held responsible for the same and the guest shall have no claim whatsoever against the management.
The guest was given Rs. 2.82 lakh as compensation by the state consumer commission, and this decision of the commission was that was backed up by the national forum. This compensation further led to the hotel to challenge the order.
Customer Must Be Compensated By Hotel
This appeal was rejected by the top court, who said that as visitors tend to go for those hotels that offer more convenience, the valet parking facility gave the hotel an ‘edge’ over other counterparts.
Justice Shantanagoudar said, “It cannot be denied that valet parking service, even if offered gratuitously, benefits the hotel. A hotel holding itself out to the public as providing such a service seeks to pitch it as a value addition to the experience of a guest and incentives (for) greater footfall.”
If the vehicle is given over to the hotel staff, they are under an indirect contractual obligation to make sure the vehicle is intact when the owner asks for it back.