Online matrimonial services
With the modernization in the technology and increase in the accessibility of the internet to different stratum of society a number of goods and services are now available just at the click of a button. Matrimonial services, which were initially limited to common family and friendly connections only, have expanded their workspace and now anyone anywhere can with anyone anywhere through the platform of web and app based matrimonial services.
Can Matrimonial firm be held Liable for Deficiency in services?
In a judgement of July, 2018 in the matter of Wedding Wish Private Limited vs. Navpreet Kaur, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chandigarh ordered a matrimonial firm to pay compensation for failure to deliver the expected level of services.
In this case, the complainant availed the services of the matrimonial firm and paid the requisite service charges for generating her profile, providing profiles of candidates with complete details, arranging meetings/conferences. The Complainant on being dissatisfied by the services rendered by the matrimonial firm lodged a consumer complaint wherein she alleged that the Plaintiff firm was unsuccessful in sharing the requisite profiles and arranging meetings/ conferences as agreed by it. The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum held that the matrimonial firm tried to mislead the Complainant in one way or the other by just throwing useless profiles to her, which despite being in her possession she could not pick/choose as they were not of her match and thus ordered the firm to refund the services charges and pay compensation for the damage caused to the Complainant. The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum upheld the decision of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum requiring the matrimonial firm to compensate for the deficient services provided by it.
In view of the e-mail conversation exchanged between the parties, the State Commission was also of the view that the complainant had been harassed at the hands of the Opposite Party for non-providing of matrimonial services to the complainant. While upholding the District Forum’s order, the State Commission also noted that the matrimonial firm had received an amount of Rs. 51,000/- towards registration fee/membership fee from the Complainant for matrimonial purposes only, but it did not take any effective steps for the same.
There exists an obscurity in law pertaining to matrimonial websites and firm’s services in India. There is no specific statutory provision which regulates the services provided by such firms in India. However, in this case, the State Commission penalized the firm for deficiency of services under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, thereby streamlining the law in this area.
 Appeal No. 173 of 2018 State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Union Territory, Chandigarh