Case filed against PVR and BookMyShow for charging customers ‘internet handling fees’ 

Hyderabad-based NGO, Forum Against Corruption has moved the Hyderabad court against ticketing service providers PVR and BookMyShow, as well as the department of information and technology, for charging consumers extra ‘internet handling fees’. The case is expected to be heard on 23 March. 

The case is a product of an RTI filed by Vijay Gopal, president of the Forum Against Corruption. The RTI to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) revealed that the services do not have the authority to charge customers an additional ‘internet handling charge’. Doing so, puts the services in violation of the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) regulations. 

An MDR is the rate charged to a merchant for payment processing services on debit and credit card transactions. The merchant must set up this service and agree to the rate prior to accepting debit and credit cards as payment.

According to the RBI website, the MDR transactions range between 0.30% for Rs200 transactions to 0.80% on Rs1,000 transactions. 

The Newsminute.com quoted Gopal as saying, “When we go to shopping malls, these payment gateway charges are not included in our bills. If a product costs Rs100, you pay Rs100. But here, PVR or any other movie theatre, 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.” 

As of now, the BookMyShow service charges 11.41% on a ticket price of Rs175-185. The charge, according to the rule, is to be paid by the service to the bank. However, the services often pass off the charges as part of the ticketing service to the customers. 

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Forum Against Corruption had previously filed legal notices against Ola and Uber for their trip meters during the night time in Hyderabad back in December 2018. 

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