Restaurant and food-delivery platform and a Pune-based restaurant were recently fined by a Pune-based consumer forum.
Their fault? They served a Nagpur-based lawyer a chicken dish instead of a paneer one. He was looking to break a daylong fast with the dish.
And it seems the restaurant goofed up not once but twice! This led the lawyer, identified as one Shanmukh Deshmukh, to approach the Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum in Pune for redressal.
The result, the eatery and Zomato were fined Rs 55,000 in total, which they have to pay within 45 days of the order. If this does not happen, the fine will increase at a rate of 10 percent per day after the deadline.
According to a Times of India report, Deshmukh — a lawyer who practises in the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court — had kept a fast on May 31 last year as a show of devotion to Gajanan Maharaj.
He wished to break this fast with some Paneer Butter Masala, and ordered some from the Hotel Preet Punjabi Swad in Pune, where he had gone for official work. He reportedly used the Zomato app to place the order.
When the order arrived, he asked the domestic help to serve him the food. It was only after he had taken a few bites that he reportedly realised that something was amiss.
The ToI report said he immediately called the Zomato delivery executive, who told him Zomato was not responsible for the mistake with the order.
He also reportedly said Zomato delivery executives are not supposed to open packed food and look into them.
It may be noted that while this norm has come to be more stringently enforced now, it was only late last year — almost six months after Deshmukh’s ordeal — that a Zomato delivery executive was caught on camera digging into an order meant for a customer.
Deshmukh, meanwhile, called up Hotel Preet Punjabi Swad, who told him they would send the order a second time, this time at no cost to him.
This time, when the delivery executive arrived, Deshmukh checked to the receipt and saw it said Paneer Butter Masala. However, it turned out to be the chicken dish again!
Not willing to let things go on like this, Deshmukh issued legal notices to Zomato and the hotel via lawyer Sandesh Gundage for hurting his religious sentiments. He approached the consumer forum only when they did not respond.
Eatery, Zomato fined
When the case came up before the forum, the eatery admitted that it had sent the wrong dish twice.
Zomato, however, chose to argue that it acts only as a delivery chain and therefore was not responsible for the wrong order being delivered. It also said the case had been brought only to defame the company because the money paid by Deshmukh for the dish had already been refunded.
However, the forum bench of presiding member Shubhangi Dunakhe and member Anil Jawalekar ruled in favour of Deshmukh, levying a fine of Rs 55,000 in total. Of this, Rs 50,000 alone is for mental and physical harassment as well as deficient service.