State consumer forum orders Pune-based builder to return advance with 18% interest
The Nashik circuit bench of the Maharashtra state consumer disputes redressal commission has ordered a Pune-based developer the Home Developers and its partner Milind Buddhisagar to return the entire advance amount of Rs 18 lakh to Manish Thind, who had booked a row house with them, but did not receive the sale deed.
The complainant had booked the house in Deolali Cantonment area for Rs 25 lakh in September 2011. On July 18, 2012, the developers exchanged a draft of ‘agreement to sale’ with Thind, which was to be executed before August 8, 2012. Thind paid Rs 18 lakh on December 22, 2012 with a promise to pay the balance Rs 7 lakh later as he was raising a loan from the ‘Army Group Insurance Fund (AGIF)’. Thind alleged that the developers later changed their stance and refused to sign the agreement of sale in his favour unless he paid Rs 47.10 lakh. The developers pleaded that the price of the bungalow was never Rs 25 lakh, but was Rs 47.10 lakh. They claimed that the 2,191 sq ft bungalow was being sold at the rate of Rs 2,150 per sq ft.
The commission observed that while the complainant provided all evidences to support his claim, the developers did not present a communication or a document to prove that the consideration amount was Rs 47.10 lakh.
The commission circuit bench comprised SM Shembole and KB Gawali, said, “It can be said that by showing a price greater than the agreed amount and avoiding execution of the sale deed, the developers failed at providing proper service and practised unfair trade.” It also ordered the developers to either take Rs 7 lakh from the complainant and execute the agreement of sale or return the Rs 18 lakh with 18% interest from December 2012, till date in 60 days, failing which 24% interest will be applicable on the entire unpaid amount till realisation of the same. In addition, Rs 25,000 will have to be paid as cost of the complaint. The commission also ordered payment of an additional amount of Rs 1 lakh as compensation for mental harassment caused to the consumer.