Education not a commodity: TS Consumer Forum on fee refund complaint

Hyderabad: A consumer disputes redressal forum in Hyderabad dismissed a complaint about a refund of the admission fee filed by a student against FIITJEE. The forum noted that a consumer complaint in terms of educational institutions is not maintainable under consumer forum as education is not a commodity.

The complainant, K Manjunath Reddy, joined for the two-year integrated programme for IIT-JEE with the opposite party FIITJEE and paid Rs 259,650 from between February 23 and 27, 2017. According to him, after joining, the institution did not offer the foundation course, which FIITJEE promised at the time of admission. It made him unable to cope up with other students. “I was subjected to humiliation before the other students. Slowly, my health deteriorated, and I suffered from dengue fever. I had been in the hospital for treatment in July 2017,” Manjunath said.

There was a change of pattern in the institute’s teaching and other conditions. The complainant found no tutor to help him clear his doubts or help him solve problems while in the hostel. Meanwhile, the complainant fell sick again, and this time the doctors informed that Manjunath is depressed.

Learning about his difficult situation, Manjunath’s parents approached the opposite party and enquired as to why they haven’t provided guidance, support, and foundation course to the complainant as promised. While they made a formal request to refund the fee and cancel the admission, the institute gave no response. With this, the complainant filed a claim with the Hyderabad Consumer Forum against FIITJEE on December 28, 2017.

Responding to the complainant, an official statement from FIITJEE said, “The complainant and his mother have given an undertaking at the time of complainant’s admission, agreeing the terms and conditions incorporated in the agreement. As per the said terms, the fees paid shall not be refunded in case of voluntary withdrawal of the students from the institution.”

However, while hearing the two-year-old complaint, the forum dismissed the complainant’s case, stating that education is not a commodity to be dealt by with consumer forum. “This consumer complaint is not maintainable before a Consumer Forum in respect of educational institutions, because education is not a commodity. Moreover, educational institutions are not providing any form of service to the students,” the forum added.

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. Dheeshma has also made short films and documentaries. Her documentary ‘Still I Rise’, which is based on sex-trafficking in Hyderabad’s Old City, has earned accolades in several film festivals, such as International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala (IDSFFK). An avid foodie, she loves to travel and listen to stories that others tell. Photography is one of her all-time interests. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, health, consumer, and data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *