Shyamal Gupta, Member
The capsulated factual matrix of the case is that the Complainant No. 1 hired the hotel and catering services of the OPs for the purpose of hosting the marriage reception of his sister. For this purpose, Complainant No. 1 also made an advance of Rs. 4,00,000/- to the OPs. Following detail discussion with the OPs, menu of food items and/or beverages to be served at the event was finalized. However, to the utter surprise of the Complainants, the hotel authority served completely different sub-standard food and beverages. Allegedly, the service of attendants was also worse and unprofessional. Further allegation of the Complainants is that, though the matter was taken up with the In-charge of the said reception party and other officials of the hotel, they did not swung into action to salvage the situation. As the OP No. 4 misbehaved with the Complainants in front of guests, it caused huge embarrassment to them. The guests were smirked and refused to take such sub-standard food. Later on, when the matter was vigorously pursued with the higher echelon of the Hotel Management, admitting the fault on their part, the hotel authority offered to waive 50% of the total bill amount and also invited the sister of the Complainant No. 1 for a weekend stay in one of their hotels in New Delhi, which, however was not acceptable to the Complainants; hence, this complaint case.
Per contra case of the OPs is that the grievance of the Complainants that a different menu was served is an afterthought, clearly meant to exhort money from the OPs. It is further stated that as a member of the hospitality industry, they make it their duty to keep all their customers happy and in pursuance of the same had apologized to the Complainants as a matter of good gesture. Terming the compensation amount claimed arbitrary, unsubstantiated and disproportionate to their purported grievance, the OPs prayed for dismissal of the complaint case.
The moot point for determination is whether the Complainants deserve any relief in this case.
At the time of hearing, Ld. Advocates for the parties were heard and documents on record gone through thoroughly.
The primary allegation against the OPs is that deviating from the food/beverage being finalized by the parties following detail discussion; they served sub-standard items at the reception party.
Quite predictably, the OPs denied all the material allegation of the complaint. However, perusal of the copy of e-mail dated 12-12-2014, being written by the General Manager of OP Hotel unmasks the inherent truth and put at rest even slightest doubt about the veracity of the allegations being hurled by the Complainants. Relevant portion of the said mail is appended below which is self-explanatory.
“At the outset, please accept my sincere apologies for the incorrect menu served at your function on December 7th, 2014. This is not our standard at all, and we are deeply embarrassed this happened. I am also sorry Ms Marium Hamid did not come forward and accept responsibility in the first instance for this mishap. I am taking this up separately with her, and cautioning her appropriately.
You will agree that our staff on the day, with the best intentions, went out of their way to take your feedback seriously endeavoured to make up by replacing as many menu items as they could to make your guests’ experience as pleasant as possible.
While we can’t turn back the clock, I would like to suggest as a gesture of our apology, that we waive 50% of your bill for this function. I would also like to invite your sister to one of our hotels in New Delhi for a weekend stay with our compliments.…….”
The saying goes, ‘a man may lie but a document will not’. Following such candid admission of their guilt, we feel, no defence on the part of the OPs survive.
People choose hotels as wedding venues mainly for convenience. One key reason is that hotels offer an easy way to ensure comfortable accommodation for a large number of out-of-town guests. Besides, when you host the wedding at the same venue, you don’t need to bother about transporting everyone to and fro.
Another factor of convenience is that hotels tend to have venues of multiple sizes to choose from. Whether you want a garden event or wish for a reception in a grand ball room, where 500 or more guests can fit in together, hotels can offer you a lot of options. One can even host poolside cocktail parties, as a part of pre-wedding event. Couples can plan bachelorette parties, bridal showers, and rehearsal dinners, all at the same location. There is a lot of scope for flexibility, and options to save on costs.
From catering to flowers, make up services to rentals, hotels have partnerships with a wide range of service providers, who can completely manage the event from start to finish. Some even have in-house wedding planners and venue designers to help the couple. So, you can simply unload all the stress on the hotel and enjoy your special day.
It sounds quite unbelievable that a renowned hotel to the stature of the OP could act so unprofessionally. There can be no two opinions as to the fact that out of utmost faith/trust in the competency of the OPs, the Complainant No. 1 selected the OP Hotel for celebrating the marriage reception of his sister. It is the dream of every human being to make the marriage reception of their dear ones a grand success and cherish it throughout the life.
In this case, Complainants, besides their close relatives, invited distinguished guests from different parts of the country as well as abroad for the said ceremony. Unfortunately, thanks to the utter negligence/incompetence/lack of foresightedness of the concerned employees of the OPs, it became a nightmare for them. Certainly, they did not deserve this from the OPs.
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loss of face, humiliation, mental stigma being endured by the Complainants for no fault of theirs, we feel, the Complainants deserve adequate compensation from the OPs. Accordingly, we allow this case in part with a cost of Rs. 25,000/-. OPs are debarred from raising any bill upon the Complainants in respect of the event in question. Complainants are entitled to get compensation to the tune of Rs. 10,00,000/- from the OP No. 2. Non-compliance of this order within 40 days hence shall entail payment of simple interest @ 9% p.a. on the aforesaid sum of Rs. 10,00,000/- from the date of filing of the complaint case till full and final payment is made.