BookMyShow, PVR, RTI, RBI, IT Department, Hyderabad, Internet handling charges, MDR,Forum Against Corruption has moved the Hyderabad court against e-ticketing service providers PVR and BookMyShow for levying extra ‘internet handling fees’. The petition also names the Department of Information and Technology. The case is scheduled to be heard on 23 March.

Vijay Gopal, president of the Hyderabad-based NGO, had filed an RTI to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It revealed that the services do not have the authority to charge customers an additional ‘internet handling charge’. The current service is in violation of the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) regulations.

Gopal tweeted, “I am glad to share that a case has been filed in the Hyderabad Consumer Court-3 against BookMyshow, PVR and the IT Dept. If GOI or shifting the operating cost of the theatre to the consumers calling it Internet Handling Fee. Justice will be served soon like sizzlers (sic).”
The RBI response stated that the MDR fee has to be paid to banks by merchants for each internet-based online transactions. However, portals like BookMyShow had been passing the charges on to the consumer.
According to reports, BookMyShow charges 14-16 per cent as Internet Handling Fee from customers. The portal charges Rs 19.82 as internet handling fees that comprises a booking fee of Rs 16.80 and Rs 3.02 Integrated GST (IGST) at 18%.

The MDR is a payment gateway fee paid by the merchant to the bank for accepting customer payments via debit or credit card.

“When we go to shopping malls, these payment gateway charges are not included in our bills. If a product costs Rs 100, you pay Rs 100. But here, PVR and other movie theatres don’t want to give up a cut from their revenue to the banks and so portals like BookMyShow give the theatres an option to either bear the payment gateway charges or pass it on to the customer,” says activist Vijay Gopal who filed the case.

He adds that the argument made by such firms is absurd that the customers can be charged handling fees because of ‘other services’ being offered.

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