Fees once paid cannot be returned is an unfair trade practice carried by coaching institutions
The instant case is a dispute between a coaching institute named FIIT JEE and the respondent a student of this coaching institute. The parents of the respondent argued that that institute has taken advance payment of two years during the admission of their son but due to acute medical condition the son is unable to take classes from the institute and thus a refund of fee is demanded which was straight away denied by the appellant institute.
The institute cited the case of FIIT JEE vs. Harish Soni and FIIT JEE vs Vikram Seth wherein it was decided by the same consumer forum that the fees once paid by the respondents is not entitled to any refund if already given on the enrollment form duly signed by the parents or the complainant during the admission of their children. To reply to this contention the forum brought forward the case of FIIT JEE vs Dr. Minathi Rath in which it was held that the institution could not charge full advance fee for two years . The forum held that the appellant could not be put in a advantageous position to take benefit of its customers in an unfair manner. The forum also said that during the process of admission parents generally have no option of bargaining the terms of the contract pr the admission form or to refuse to sign the clause of no refund policy. The no refund policy and taking advances of two years is an unfair trade practice. Coaching institutes cannot and should not charge for the services the have not yet provided . It should be open to the students to leave the institution and its services if their is any deficiency in the services , refusing to refund their fees would be a violation of their right to choose.
The forum was of the opinion that in the present case the respondent has been suffering from medical issues and denying them their money adds to the mental agony and should be prohibited. Thus the decision of the Distirct forum of ordering the institute to refund back the fees plus the litigation expenses was upheld by the Chandigarh State Consumer Protection Commission.