In this era of Urbanisation, beauty clinics are flourishing industries amongst all age groups. Brand named beauty clinics are usually more trusted than small-scale local parlours. The business model of such clinics involve a step of consumers signing consent forms which not only make it a consensual process but also helps in shaking of liability from the shoulders of such clinics.

In a recent case before Kolkata District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, the client was seeking fat reduction treatment from VLCC. She was made to sign certain consent forms and was explained about the entire process, treatment, side effects and end results of the process. VLCC also ensured the client that there would be an expert/medical professional supervising the treatment. During the treatment in 2018, the complainant shattered and sustained immense pain on her right side of lower abdomen area. Eventually a balloon type blister developed and started hanging from the abdomen of the complainant.

The complainant approached the concerned beauty parlour, where she was denied of compensation. Aggrieved by the same, she filed a complaint in the consumer forum. The commission directed compensation and refund for the client and held that-

“As regards the contention of the Ld. Advocate for the OPs that the negligence and deficiency in services has not been established and allegations of the complainant are not correct, we may simply observe that it is too late in the day for the OPs to raise such plea in the instant case especially when the OPs did not take any step to get it proved on record that expert/ doctor was present during Cool Technique Procedure. OPs failed to discharge even the initial burden. Therefore, it is the obligation on the part of the OPs to either notice the Doctor and/or Expert. In such circumstances adverse inference should have been drawn against the OPs. There is also no documentary evidence on record to establish that Mr. Tamal Manna, technician is highly qualified and trained to attend on each and every customer a high degree of care, caution and professionalism.”

The Commission also placed reliance on the case of India Medical Association v. VP Shantha & Ors., (1995) 6 SCC 651, Hon’ble Supreme Court held that service rendered to a patient by a Medical Practioner (except where the doctor renders service free of charge to every patient or under a contract of personal service), by way of consultation, diagnosis and treatment, both medicinal and surgical would fall within the ambit of ‘service’ as defined in Section 2 (1) (0) of the CP Act, 1986. Deficiency in service has to be judged by applying the test of reasonable skill and care which is applicable in action for damages for negligence.

Considering the facts and precedents, the consumer redressal commission held that-

“For the kind of negligence, deficiency in service and the mis-representation made by the OP-3 award of compensation of Rs. 1,00,000/- is reasonable or commensurate with the loss, injury and mental and physical pain and agony suffered by the complainant. In our view, it would adequately meet the ends of justice.”

Link for image-

Link to judgment – Anna Correia v. VLCC Health Care