Chandigarh: Fitness centre told to refund money for services not availed by 14-year-old girl

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh, has directed a Chandigarh-based fitness centre to refund the money for services not availed by a 14-year-old girl. The commission also imposed a penalty of ₹8,000.

The girl had filed a complaint against a fitness centre, Gagan Fitness Studio. She joined the studio for diet consultancy and management services in February 2019 as it was situated near her house.

Her mother paid ₹28,000 for a one-year course. After two months, the girl discontinued the services due to personal reasons. The fitness centre, as per the mother, gave it in writing that she would be free to take the services within six months.

In August 2019, when the girl wanted to re-join, she got to know about the relocation of the centre to Phase-7, Mohali. The mother alleged that they did not disclose regarding shifting of their centre. “Attempts to get the money refund went futile as the centre denied it. Hence, we moved the consumer forum,” the mother said.

The centre replied that they are still running Gagan Fitness Studio from the same address in Sector 21-D, Chandigarh, and that the studio opened in Mohali was an additional studio to cater to the demand of Mohali residents.

They denied that the mother ever visited the office for a refund. “The girl has no right, interest, title or claims against the OP (fitness centre) as she had already surrendered her membership without assigning any reasons in April 2019 and the centre had replaced her mother, Shalini Gupta in her place,” the centre said.

They pleaded that there is no deficiency in service on its part and sought dismissal

However, the commission observed that the centre has not placed on record any concrete evidence to establish its plea that they are still running the centre from the same place.

It has also been admitted by the centre that services for 9 months and 15 days are left to be availed. The commission directed the fitness centre to refund ₹28,000 (after deducting proportionate amounts for the period of services availed) to the girl and to pay ₹5,000 compensation for mental agony and harassment and ₹3,000 as litigation costs.

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