Oral order: (B.N. Rao Nalla, President)
1) This is an appeal filed under Section 15 of the Consumer Protection Act by the unsuccessful complainants praying this Commission to set aside the impugned order dated 22.12.2014 made in CC 599 of 2010 on the file of the DISTRICT FORUM-1, Hyderabad and allow the appeal.
2) For the sake of convenience, the parties are described as arrayed in the complaint before the District Forum.
3). The case of the complainants, in brief, is that the complainants have deposited amounts in the name of 1st complainant, J. Sivashankar Reddy, Rs.50,000/- on 12.10.2009 under the scheme of daily 1% for 300 days and also deposited in the names of J. Sowmya Rs.50,000/- and J. Yashoda Rs.50,000/- under the same scheme. And also on 14.11.2009 deposited the amount of Rs.2,00,000/- under I.D. J.Chariatha 1 and Chariatha2 of Rs.2,00,000/- under the same scheme, later on 14.11.2009 J. Sowmya I.D. top up Rs.50,000/- and J. Yashodha I.D. Rs.50,000/- later on 20.11.2009 deposited the amount under the name of J. Sowmya 2 of Rs.50,000/- totally Rs.5,00,000/-The opposite parties were operating through Website http:/www.ssforexdaily,biz. The opposite parties paid the amount until 10.03.2010 on 10th, 20th and 30th of every month. Subsequent to 30th March, the depositors were asked to withdraw the amounts. When they approached on 2nd April, 2010 about withdrawal of the amounts, it was found that the office was closed. The opposite parties are not available to contact and they failed to refund the money to them. Hence the complaint to direct the opposite parties to pay agreed balance amount of Rs.16,52,000/-with interest @ 24% pa till the date of realization and 500 sq. yards plot of company’s property, to pay balance amount of Rs.11,60,000/-, to pay Account balance amount of Rs.1,42,000/-, to payRs.60,000/- towards expenses incurred in rounding the company and party, Rs.3,50,000/- towards compensation and costs of Rs.50,000/-.
4). The opposite parties opposed the above complaint by way of written version, while admitting that they are running multi level marketing online business having large clientele, contending that as per the scheme of Kubera Venture/Package, they offered a plot admeasuring 100 sq. yards for a sum of Rs.1,15,000/- or by suite length of three meters at the rate of Rs.10,000/- per metre. The members were also offered bonus, returns between 0% to 1% on their actual ID for 300 days. Denied the receipt of deposits or that there was any guaranteed amount to be paid back to the members. It is admitted that the complainants have invested a sum of Rs.5,00,000/- under the Kubera package and they were offered plots on payment of further sum of Rs.75,000/-for the registration of the plot admeasuring 500 sq. yds located in Kubera Hills. Instead of paying the balance amount of Rs.75,000/-, the complainants purchased suit length for Rs.5,00,000/- and the same was adjusted. The complainants received plot worth Rs.5,00,000/- from them. The Forum has no jurisdiction to entertain the complaint as the matter is civil in nature. The complainants are not consumers. There is no deficiency in service on their part. Hence prayed to dismiss the complaint.
5) During the course of enquiry before the District Forum, in order to prove their case, the complainants filed evidence affidavit and got marked Ex.A1 to A-17 and the opposite parties filed evidence affidavit by reiterating the contents of the written version but no documents were marked. Heard both sides.
6) The District Forum, after considering the material available on record, dismissed the complaint.
7) Aggrieved by the said order, the complainants preferred this appeal before this Commission.
8) Both sides have advanced their arguments, , reiterating the contents in the appeal grounds, rebuttal thereof along with written arguments. Heard both sides.
9) The points that arise for consideration are,
(i) Whether the impugned order as passed by the District Forum suffers from any error or irregularity or whether it is liable to be set aside, modified or interfered with, in any manner?
(ii) To what relief ?
10). Point No.1 :
There is no dispute that the Appellants/complainants have invested an amount of Rs.5,00,000/- with the respondents/opposite parties vide Ex. A1 to A4 under the Kubera Package. The contention of the appellants/complainants is that they have deposited a total sum of Rs.5,00,000/- with the respondents/ opposite parties under the Kubera Scheme to earn 1% return per day for 300 days and that the respondents/opposite parties paid the sum until 10.03.2010. Ex.A-15, copy of Letter of Undertaking executed by the respondents/opposite parties discloses that there is an agreement in between the appellants/complainants and the respondents/ opposite parties company with regard to network marketing system. As per the said Kubera Scheme, the members will be getting the returns @ 0% to 1% on their actual I.D’s total amount for maximum 300 days and the principal amount will not be refunded. The product will be registered to the user when the remaining payment of the product ( 1 unit = 100 sq. yards plot Rs.1,15,000/- company’s property, product subject to availability) is paid by the user. 15% will be deducted from every commission ( incentives) towards TDS and handling, processing charges. It is also mentioned therein that ‘ it may please be noted that this network marketing system is not based on luck or fortune. It is not a lottery but purely based on efforts and contacts. The target is not superficial but achievable with sincere efforts '. From the above it is to be inferred that the appellants/complainants have invested the amounts for gaining profits commercially. It is not the case of the appellants/complainants that they have made fixed deposits for their future security and livelihood. Ex.A1 to A4 receipts show that the amounts were adjusted towards the suit length as contended by the respondents/opposite parties. Counsel for the appellants/complainants argued that they made a complaint in Cr. No. 193/2010 of P.S.CCS (WCOII), Hyderabad and a charge sheet was also marked as Ex.A17 on the file of the Hon’ble M.S.J. Court at Hyderabad which reveals that there is no transaction of suit length, which is mentioned in the counter and the said transaction is only to avoid payment. On the other hand, counsel for the respondents argued that the appellants/complainant did not pay Rs.75,000/- towards registration of the plots and hence they could not deliver the same. No doubt, the appellants/complainants have invested Rs.5,00,000/- but with commercial motive and they are non-refundable. In view of the above facts, it cannot be treated the appellants/complainants as consumers as per
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section 2 (1)(d) of C. P.Act as opined by the District Forum and hence the dispute is not a consumer dispute. 11). After considering the foregoing facts and circumstances and also having regard to the contentions raised on both sides, this Commission is of the view that the appellants/complainants are not consumers and the dispute is not a consumer dispute. There is no illegality or irregularity in the order passed by the District Forum. There are no merits in the appeal and hence it is liable to be set aside. 12). Point No. 2 : In the result, the appeal is dismissed confirming the impugned order dated 22.12.2014 passed in CC 599 of 2010 on the file of the District Forum -1, Hyderabad. There shall be no order as to costs.