Daylight robbery by the Railways

Recently I booked a train ticket for my wife, that was wait listed even after chart preparation. The ticket was automatically cancelled by the IRCTC software / personnel and the refund automatically sent to my bank account. What was appalling however, is that the amount deducted was MORE than fifty percent of the total cost paid!!

How can any provider of goods and/or services charge for goods/services NOT provided in the first place? GST is to be charged only on goods / services provided, otherwise the entire cost is to be refunded and the GST also.

Further, clerical costs / convenience fees (inrtoduced during Minister Suresh Prabhu's time), can never be more than a few percent. In fact, in order to encourage e-transactions, the Government has specifically instructed banks, online cinema ticket providers, etc., not to charge any such fee.

As this is the second time that this has happened to me, I have brought the incident to the notice of this group. Considering the millions of passengers who have wait listed tickets automatically cancelled by IRCTC or by themselves, IRCTC rakes in exorbitant 'moolah' through such blatant violation of the Indian Contract Act, since most passengers do not know of their rights and/or do not have the time to fight or even protest the same.

We need to take this up with the Consumer Protection Forum and also as a Public Interest Litigation. more  

View all 24 comments Below 24 comments
There are valid points in the post. When the ticket was automatically refunded, means the ticket was not confirmed. The GST, Convenience Charges should be visited once again to provide relief, when the services are not provided. more  
It is quite likely that your ticket must have been confirmed at the last minute which was probably noticed by you. Since the ticket is confirmed, you would have lost 50 percent of the price. more  
There is limited quota for wait listed tickets, usually it depends on time gap between date of booking and date of travel. Even then if waiting list shows above 80 or 100 tickets on it there is no or least chance of getting a confirmed ticket. IRCTC website gives a probable of getting confirm ticket in case of waiting list. It is better to check all possibilities before booking under waiting list or book under Tatkal scheme. more  
If the railways cannot confirm waitlisted tickets, it should not issue them. If the waitlisted ticket is not confirmed, then the full amount should be refunded. OR, they can start a method as SEBI has done for share applications. At the time of application, an amount equal to your application is blocked in your bank account. If you receive the shares, the amount is debited from your account. If you do not receive the shares, the block is removed. IRCTC should do the same for Waitlisted tickets. more  
I have already requested the details of cancellation from the Railways. Even so, auto cancellation for Services/goods not provided can never be as high as more than 50% of the total amount paid.

As far as booking a wait listed ticket is concerned, the Railways have always been known to 'over book' as there are generally a number of cancellations too. Invariably, a good percentage of the tickets does get confirmed or RAC. In fact, after a certain number of WL tickets, the Railways itself closes the booking. Hence, as long as the booking is still open, travellers would always be justified in taking the chance.
But never can such high cancellation fee be justified. It was never charged until a year or so ago.

As suggested by some readers, I shall definitely consider approaching the Consumer Protection Forum / appropriate authorities regarding the issue. more  
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