People moving from one place to other and at times out of India too each year and hire the services of packers and movers. Since services as defined under the consumer protection act do cover carriage services, consumer courts are getting number of complaints on the various issues such as

·         Loss of goods

      Damage of goods


      Late arrival

      Halt on the way without information

      Change of route

      Increase in freight

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission New Delhi in Revision Petition no. 1026 of 2011  in the matter between M/S Aggarwal Packers and Movers and   Alok Chaturvedi dealt with this issue and discussed related law in detail giving reference to earlier decided case by the apex court, the Supreme Court of India.

In the present matter   the entire household luggage was loaded in a truck having closed container on 10.5.2009 Thereafter, complainant put his own lock on the door of the container. The complainant received the said luggage on 10.5.2009 and was utterly surprised to see that the luggage was contained in two trucks which was done  on the way in most careless manner and the items of crockery, furniture electronics etc. as mentioned in the list were found damaged and he got assessment done of these items which was to the tune of Rs.20, 000/-. The other household items/clothes as mentioned in the list worth rs.23, 000/- were found missing.

  The complainant immediately informed the company about the damage caused to the furniture etc. and loss of items.Movers and packers company  asked the complainant not to disturb the broken items till their employee visits his house to assess the loss. As such the articles remained scattered in the house for a long period of nearly three months but no steps were taken by company to make good the loss suffered by the complainant.

     Ultimately, complainant was asked to approach the insurance company with whom they said household luggage was got insured by the company Though there was no privity of contract between complainant and the insurance company, yet he approached the insurance company. The insurance company again asked the complainant not to disturb the broken items till the loss is assessed by the surveyor and as such the household items remained lying scattered till the loss was assessed by the surveyor appointed by the insurance company.

        Thereafter, the insurance company asked the complainant to approach movers and packers because  compensation, if any regarding loss of household luggage was to be reimbursed to the movers and packers by the insurance company. After great persuasion, packers company offered to pay either a sum of Rs.13, 000/- in lump sum as compensation for the loss of items as well as damage caused to the furniture etc. Or offered to pay rs.40, 000/- with the condition to return back the damaged items.

 Alleging deficiency in service on the part ofAggrawal movers and packers , complainant filed complaint before the District forum. District forum which  allowed the complaint vides its order dated  11th February, 2010 , operative part of which reads as under:-

“This complaint is allowed with a direction to pay to the complainant a sum of rs.43, 000/- on account of broken and missing items. Ops are also directed to pay to the complainant a sum of Rs.40, 000/- as compensation for causing discomfort and rs.5, 000/- as costs of litigation.

Appeal filed by the company before the State Commission  against this order and contended that there was no proper service of the complainant on the. M/s Aggarwal Packers & Movers Pvt.Ltd Ltd. being an artificial name has to act through its managing director/principal officer and the service of summons was to be effected at the registered office of the company. Other contention is that there is no deficiency on the part of the Packers And Movers and in support, learned counsel cited decision of Hon’ble supreme court in Ravneet Singh Bagga vs. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and another (2000) 1 Supreme Court cases 66, in which it was observed as under;

 “The deficiency in service cannot be alleged without attributing fault, imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature and manner of performance which is required to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any service. The burden of proving the deficiency in service is upon the person who alleges it.”

State commission dismissed the appeal and hence movers and packers came before the National Commission

National commission observed the relevant finding of the State Commission carefully with regard to the service  and made a note of it-

“perusal of the record shows that OP no.1 was duly served through registered post as there is acknowledgement due receipt duly signed by the representative of op no.1 about having received the summons and copy of the complaint. Despite receiving summons, none entered appearance on behalf of op no.1 before the district forum, so it was rightly proceeded against ex parte. The summons sent out for service of OP no.2 had been refused by its representative Krishan Kumar and the plea of ops that there was no employee with the name of Krishan Kumar is not supported by duly sworn affidavit of any responsible functionary of the company. Further, op no.2 a branch office of OP Company is situated in Chandigarh and the material booked was delivered at Chandigarh, so the district forum at Chandigarh had the territorial jurisdiction to try and adjudicate upon the dispute under the provisions of consumer protection act

More so supreme court in the case referred by Movers and Packers company in Ravneet Singh Bagga’s case  further explains -.

 “The rendering of deficient service has to be considered and decided in each case according to the facts of that case for which no hard and fast rule can be laid down. Inefficiency, lack of due care, absence of bona fides, rashness, haste or omission and the like may be the factors to ascertain the deficiency in rendering the service.”

There was yet another case referred by the National Commission.  In Ravinder Kaur vs. Ashok kumar, air 2004 sc 904, apex court observed;

“Courts of law should be careful enough to see through such diabolical plans of the judgment debtor to deny the decree holders the fruits of the decree obtained by them.  These types of errors on the part of the judicial forum only encourage frivolous and cantankerous litigations causing law’s delay and bringing bad name to the judicial system.”

National commission confirmed and upheld the decision of District Court and State Commission

Needless to say consumers need to take care of certain things at the time of booking their luggage such as

·         Loading and arrival time


      Halt place on the way if any

      Inclusion of insurance at the halt place

      Safety measures on the way

      Declaration of delicate items for handling with care

      Protection measures from rain &other force mejore 



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