Consumer forum tells hotel to pay 12 lakh to guests trapped in lift

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission said hotel ought to have acted promptly & ensured repair or replacement of its lifts

After 18 years, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has ordered a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to each of six people — three Indians and three Europeans — trapped in a lift at Ambassador Hotel in south Mumbai for two-and-a-half hours.

The hotel accused of service deficiency is owned by Narangs International Hotel Private Limited.

According to a complaint lodged on February 28, 1994, New Delhi-based Radha and Ram Venuprasad, Roy and Sylvia Short of England, Sotiriadis Themistoklis of Greece and Kerela native Sunil Sreedharan were stuck in the badly maintained lift.

A night before the incident, the hotel had a long electricity cut from midnight to 6.45 am. The complainants said this caused them serious inconvenience.

The following night when the patrons were going to the revolving restaurant on the 12th floor, the lift got stuck and around ten of them were left stranded with no help for over two-and-a-half hours.

"We were stuck in an atmosphere that was intensely claustrophobic and abhorrent," the patrons claimed.

The hotel, however, blamed the lift company.

Both the patrons and the hotel approached NCDRC, which heard both petitions together The commission observed the hotel appeared to have developed an indifferent attitude. Inertia had set in, it said.

It was brought to the notice of NCDRC that the lift company had given a quotation for repair and advised that the lift be shut down for maintenance.

The commission also observed that the hotel ought to have acted promptly and ensured repair or replacement of its lifts.

NCDRC held "the hotel was negligent in not ensuring maintenance of lifts and not taking prompt or immediate or timely steps to rescue trapped complainants".

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