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Builder asked to cough up Rs. 60k for less shop area

A consumer court has directed a builder to pay Rs. 60,000 compensation to a complainant for allotting him a shop of a lesser area than what was agreed upon.

Complainant Harshal Keshrinath Patil approached the Thane District Consumer Redressal Forum (TDCRF) in December 2009 saying that he had purchased a shop measuring 20.90 sq m in a building at Tulij in Vasai area from Patil Builders and Developers.

He said that he paid Rs. 3,37,500 and entered into an agreement for the same in 2007. He also said that later he paid Rs. 9,12,500, taking the total payment made to the builder to Rs. 12,50,000.

After receiving the shop, Patil got the premises inspected by an architect in November 2009, and it was found that the shop area was only 138.36 sq feet (built up area), instead of the agreed 224.96 sq ft (less by 87 sq ft), following which he approached the consumer forum.

The builder contested the claim saying the complaint was time-barred, as the complainant had taken possession of the shop in 2007. Moreover, it was a civil complaint which needed to be tried by court, the firm pleaded.

However, TDCRF president Sneha S Mhatre and members Madhuri S Vishwarupe and N D Kadam dismissed the builder’s submissions and said that the complaint was filed within the stipulated time and they had the authority to entertain it.

The forum also observed that the builder had not honoured the commitment made in the agreement between him and the buyer and given area lesser by 87 sq ft.

However, it did not agree with the complainant’s submission that he had paid an additional sum of Rs. 9,12,500 to the builder as he could not produce any proof for it.

The forum ruled that by giving lesser area of shop than that agreed in the sale document, the builder had indulged in unfair business practices.

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