Hyderabad: A consumer court ordered Apollo hospitals to pay a plaintiff 10,000 rupees for charging a registration fee, which it called an unfair trade practice. The major healthcare player has also been asked to pay Rs 3,000 in litigation costs. The ruling by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission – 1 also called on Apollo hospitals to also stop collecting the Rs 200 registration fee from patients.
Vijay Gopal approached the commission after visiting the Jubilee Hills Hospital branch on June 15, 2019 to see a doctor for his mother. He wrote in his complaint that staff at Apollo Hospital asked him to pay the registration fee of Rs 200, in addition to Rs 900 for the doctor’s consultation fee. He also claimed that the hospital did not provide any receipt for the Rs 200 he paid, which was later to be collected on June 19, 2019 during Vijay’s second visit to the hospital.
The commission’s order, dated October 4, also stated that the Jubilee Hills branch of Apollo Hospital had also been penalized by the GST department of Hyderabad for issuing the same invoices without mentioning the GST number in the invoice.
“I am glad that the court ordered the Apollo and all these other hospitals to stop this practice of collecting registration fees of Rs 200 and asked the director of medical health to ensure that this be under control in all hospitals in Hyd, âsaid Vijay. He was disappointed, however, that the hospital had not received any penalties to take to court for their actions. In his petition, he asked the court to levy a penalty of 10 lakhs.
âThe hospital has probably made millions from its restrictive business practices, but no penalties have been imposed on them. I hope the consumer courts will do more than compensate the victims, and also impose significant financial penalties on the culprits.