Submitted by alvin on Sat, 2016-05-14 09:40 Bengaluru: Healthcare centres offering weight-loss programmes have mushroomed in our cities, taking advantage of the craze for a slim figure. But consumers should be vigilant and read the terms and conditions before going in for such weight-loss programmes. Ashwini Anjanappa failed to do so and paid the price. This is her story. Looking to lose weight, Ashwini, a resident of Panduranga Nagara in Bengaluru, approached VLCC Health Care Ltd in JP Nagar for health and beauty treatment. Ashwini enrolled for weight-loss treatment in June 2013. At VLCC, she was introduced to a physiotherapist and a dietician and they briefed her about the treatment packages available. To reduce 5 kgs of weight and body toning, they offered a package worth Rs66,264 for the duration of 90 days. Ashwini accepted that package and paid the said amount, without reading the terms and conditions. As the programme began, Ashwini underwent a ‘zero session’ service for almost an hour and a Vtron-CTS facial treatment for an hour. On the same night, she felt very uncomfortable, experienced giddiness, vomiting sensation, and her face became irritable. Ashwini realised that the package wouldn’t work for her. Ashwini informed VLCC healthcare about the issues and requested them to refund the amount. But VLCC offered some alternative beauty treatments and refused to refund the amount. Ashwini complained to the VLCC Health Care Limited’s main branch. Though staff promised to resolve the problem within 24 hours, Ashwini didn’t hear from them, forcing her to approach Bangalore Urban Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum. Filing its version in the case, VLCC stated that though Ashwini complained about the programme, she had not consulted any doctor for treatment for her problems. No medical report was produced to confirm that the alleged giddiness was caused by the programme, argued VLCC. VLCC further stated that as per the terms and conditions of the package, they can’t refund the amount but offer other services available with them. They argued that Ashwini had agreed to the terms and conditions of the programme/package at the time of registration. Thus VLCC claimed that there had been no deficiency on their part and requested for the dismissal of the complaint. After hearing both sides, the forum stated that since the package/programme offered by VLCC did not suit to Ashwini’s health/body, the opposite party is duty-bound to refund the amount paid by the complainant by deducting the charges for rendering the first service. The Finding the terms to be arbitrary and one-sided, the forum directed VLCC to refund a sum of Rs63,000 along with compensation of Rs5,000 to the complainant together with litigation cost of Rs5,000.