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Book My Show, PVR Cinemas Penalised for “Illegal and Unfair” Internet Handling Fees

Book My Show, the entertainment ticketing website and aggregator, and theatre chain PVR Cinemas were penalised by the Hyderabad District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on March 12 for their “unfair” internet handling fees.


Vijay Gopal, a Hyderabad-based anti-corruption activist and founder of Forum Against Corruption, who had filed a petition in the consumer court challenging the “illegal” internet handling fee, declared the verdict on Monday.

In the order, the consumer court mentioned that collecting the Internet Handling Fee was an “illegal and unfair trade practice” by Book My Show.

The website has been allowed to charge Rs 6 claiming they have authorisation from the Telangana government.

The court specified that it was illegal to collect extra charges unless the government authorises them and that it is the merchant who has to pay the service provider, not the consumers.

Speaking to Silverscreen India, Gopal said that he will appeal against the allowance of Rs 6 as well.


“I am in the process of relooking at the facts and figure out if the Telangana government authorised any such Rs 6 to BMS [Book My Show] to collect as Internet Handling Fee. If the Telangana government has not authorised any, which I believe they did not, I shall appeal this in the higher court and see to it that even the Rs 6 is not collected from the consumers,” he said.

Gopal mentioned that it was “strange” that Book My Show did not claim any authorisation from anyone during the court proceedings.

“Also, the court seemed to have allowed BMS to collect Rs 6, which is strange as BMS had not claimed any govt authorisation from Telangana or Government of India during the court proceedings or their supporting documents, affidavits, etc. did not have any such information, allowing of collection of any Internet Handling fee, which has been established as Unfair Trade Practice and has been illegal as per the Section 6A of the IT Act, 2000 of India,” he said.

According to Gopal’s tweet in June 2019, Telangana’s IT department confirmed that they had not issued any orders of authorisation to service providers for any kind of service charges or convenience charges.

Gopal later tweeted a screenshot of payment through the digital payment app Paytm charging a “booking charge” of Rs 12 and an Internet Handling Fee of Rs 36.

Book My Show will be paying an amount of Rs 5,000 to the court as a fine and Rs 25,000 as compensation to Gopal along with Rs 1,000 of legal charges.

“While I appreciate the order of the Hyderabad Consumer Court confirming that the Internet Handling Fee is Unfair Trade Practice, it is unfortunate that the court has levied only Rs 5,000 penalty on BMS for their 20 years of wrongful gains,” Gopal said.