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BookMyShow ‘booked’ by Consumer Court for illegal ‘Internet Handling Charges’

An RTI revealed that we were paying extra while booking tickets through BookMyShow. That collection of ‘Internet Handling Charges’ is a violation of RBI’s Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) regulations.

Acting upon the RTI query Vijay Gopal, president of ‘Forum Against Corruption’ a body fighting against corruption has moved consumer court in Hyderabad against BookMyShow, PVR, and the Department of Information Technology. The case is scheduled to be heard on March 23.

If you are one of those who paid the extra ‘internet handling fee’ while booking tickets online, this is for you. The RBI in an RTI query recently stated that online platforms through which movie tickets are booked do not hold the authority to levy handling fees from customers. The reply further explains that this is in violation of the RBI’s Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) regulations.

MDR is basically cost paid by a merchant to a bank for accepting payment from its customers via credit or debit cards every time a card is used in their stores. This essentially means that it is the merchant/trader who has to pay the MDR and not the customer. Therefore levying ‘internet handling fee’ on customers is in violation of the MDR regulations and therefore illegal.

Claiming that this practice is spreading, Gopal alleges, “ Various cab services and food delivery apps like Swiggy are following the footsteps of BookMyShow”. He further said that we as citizens should come together and fight against such malpractices. Gopal also questioned the Ministry of Electronics for failing to keep a track of the violation of RBI’s MDR regulations.

“It seems that Ministry of Electronics is blindfolded by someone on this issue,” he adds.

RTI is a boon for a common man. Though it’s impact has been diluted by the present government but it is still effective. Recent revelation would check the unnecessary ‘snatching’ of money from public’s pocket by such online service providing firms.

What do you think?

Written by Sugat Srivastava

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