Movie Ticketing Apps Not Allowed to Charge 'Internet Handling Fee' from Customers, Says RBI : Violating MDR norms
On the weekend many of us are buying online tickets for the latest Bollywood as well as Hollywood release, and end up paying slightly more when booking movie tickets through apps than you would if you booked the tickets at the theatre box office. However, a latest Right to Information (RTI) query has shown that these charges could very well be unauthorized.
You don’t have to pay extra while booking a movie ticket online through a mobile app or website, Reserve Bank of India clarified via an RTI reply. Acting upon the RTI query Vijay Gopal, president of ‘Forum Against Corruption’ a body fighting against corruption has moved consumer court in Hyderabad against BookMyShow, PVR, and the Department of Information Technology. The case is scheduled to be heard on March 23.
As per the regulations, the merchant (in this case, the movie theater) is supposed to pay an amount to the bank against every transaction made by customers using a credit or debit card as per MDR regulations.
What is MDR?
MDR is basically cost paid by a merchant to a bank for accepting payment from its customers via credit or debit cards every time a card is used in their stores. This essentially means that it is the merchant/trader who has to pay the MDR and not the customer. Therefore levying ‘internet handling fee’ on customers is in violation of the MDR regulations and therefore illegal.
When we (The Logical Indian team) tried to Book a ticket through the BookMyShow website at Cinepolis: Orion East Mall, Bangalore, we found that a consumer was had to pay Rs 31.86 extra as “Internet Handling Fees”. So if the original price of the ticket is 236 rupee, consumers ended up paying 268.86 rupees.
Not just BookMyShow
Claiming that this practice is spreading, Goyal alleges, “ Various cab services and food delivery apps like Swiggy are following the footsteps of BookMyShow”. He further said that we as citizens should come together and fight against such malpractices. Goyal also questioned the Ministry of Electronics for failing to keep a track of the violation of RBI’s MDR regulations.
What can citizens do?
The RBI in the RTI reply said that those who wish to complain about the customer service offered by such RBI regulated entities can do so by visiting https://rbi.org.in/scripts/complaints.aspx. To report a violation by a merchant, one will have to approach the specific bank that was used by the merchant to make the transaction. It further said that if the bank fails to take action within 30 days or the bank’s response is not satisfactory, the concerned customer can approach the Banking Ombudsman.