VLCC Trips on Weight Loss, asked to Pay Rs.50,000

Ghaziabad, March 11 (IANS) A man signed up for a slimming programme with well-known fitness chain Vandana Luthra Curls & Curves (VLCC) to shed 30 kg weight and paid more than Rs.21,000 for it -- but he didn't lose any weight. A consumer forum granted him Rs.50,000 in damages.

The district consumer court Friday directed VLCC India Ltd. to pay the money to Saurabh Tiwari for giving him false assurances to reduce his weight.

The forum also ordered the company to pay an interest of 9 percent on the sum of Rs.21,600 that Tiwari had paid April 30, 1999. The company has also been asked to pay the customer Rs.2,000 as charges incurred by him in the course of the case.

In its order, the forum observed that the company made false assurances to Tiwari to reduce his weight within a stipulated period. The company kept him in the dark.

"Often such companies misguide people by advertising in newspapers and the public also fall easy prey to them. People often waste their time and money to look beautiful. The behaviour of VLCC towards this customer was improper and caused him physical and mental agony," forum President A.K. Srivastava and member Bhupendra Shukla remarked.

Tiwari, a resident of Kavi Nagar in Ghaziabad, had approached the Rajdhani Enclave, Delhi centre of VLCC April 30, 1999.

In his suit, Tiwari stated that the company had guaranteed to help him shed 30 kg weight within a brief period. The company recommended a programme and gave him some medicines to help him slim down.

The company, after offering a discount of 40 percent fixed the cost of the programme at Rs.21,600. Tiwari paid the sum in two instalments through cheques on April 30 and May 2, 1999.

According to Tiwari, the company prescribed him improper medicines and devised an ineffective programme that did not cause him any benefit. Whatever little benefit he derived was because of his own exercising and diet control, he maintained.

Tiwari told the forum that he had tried several times to contact the centre and its management but they gave him no satisfactory replies. When all his efforts failed with the company, he filed a suit against VLCC in the Ghaziabad consumer forum demanding a compensation of Rs.2 lakh from it for the physical and mental loss caused to him.

In the reply filed before the forum, the company claimed that it had not given him any medicines or any time frame as he was alleging. The beauty firm maintained that it had not given any false assurances to him and that he failed to derive the benefit by not conforming to the schedule properly.

The company also stated that Tiwari had a family history of obesity and was irregular in coming to the centre for monitoring the weight loss programme and not taking it seriously.

The forum observed that there was enough evidence to show that the complainant made payments through several receipts, which even the company was not able to counter in its reply


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