Man overcharged 25 cents for a train ticket in India gets refund after 22-year fight in court

Originally published at: Man overcharged 25 cents for a train ticket in India gets refund after 22-year fight in court | Boing Boing


Nice, you gotta have a hobby, shame he didn’t make bank on the interest.
Still, can he now go for punitive damges?




Just imagine the feeling of satisfaction after 22 years of people telling Tungnath Chaturvedi that he should just let it go. Dude started this when he was roughly 44 years old, so that “I told you so” must have felt damned good! Still, over 100 court appearances for a quarter is a Punic victory to me.


We’ll, he also got $188 in fines, which is not nothing, especially in India. Still, $1.88 / court appearance is hardly a windfall.

Good for him, though. Sometimes it’s worth extra effort just to show a powerful institution that they’re not above the law. This can be especially valuable in India, where pretty corruption is quite high (though 22 years to get justice maybe isn’t the most resounding of victories against the machine).


Good for him. Not sure even I would drag it out for 22 years. As someone who once argued over 1¢, I can sympathize. My grocery store once had whole sandwiches for $1.99 and half sandwiches for $.99. My request for two half sandwiches didn’t go over well.


Two questions:

  1. Are you single?
  2. Where have you been all my life?

(Cued to the relevant part)

He got them

The railway was also fined 15,000 rupees ($188) which Chaturvedi will receive.

Well, we can certainly say that this was one guy who was not going to get railroaded.


csi miami deal with it GIF


This man’s face needs to replace the “hang in there” kitten on all those posters.


Give them no quarter!


Amazing. Just to make a point, I might have ordered a half sandwich, then walked a small loop away from the counter and back again and ordered a second half sandwich. Worth a penny of my time? Maybe. :grimacing:



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The railway fought because it wanted to continue to overcharge the millions of other passengers who didn’t complain.

Honestly, that’s what puzzles me most about this:

In the context of a lot of scams the last thing the scammer wants to do is risk trouble with an atypically motivated, competent, or dangerous victim rather than just cutting their losses on that one and moving on to fresh marks.

In cases like dishonest ebay sellers, where communication between possible marks is fairly unlikely outside of potentially leaving negative reviews, this tends to mean that their return/refund process will be just enough hassle that it won’t be worth the time of the unmotivated; but if you push past that they’ll be downright eager to try to placate you and get you to go away(and not infrequently toss in an offer to pay you extra or give you some stuff if you’ll pretend that your experience was positive).

In cases where a precedent could cause mass damage to an exploitative revenue model(cable billing, gig-economy horror stories, questionably legal firings, etc.) they are less likely to simply cave, since doing so could provide a template for many similar cases and end up costing them serious money; but a comparatively generous offer coupled to a draconian NDA is frequently extended to anyone who shows signs of not just getting discouraged and going away on their own.

I would certainly expect them to fight tooth and nail against any outcome that leads to a general-purpose crackdown on overcharges or increase in ease of refunds; but there would have been plenty of places where Indian Railways could have had a solid chance of making the problem go away at minimal cost and with comparatively low risk of wider spread.

Switching to on-the-spot refunds is something they probably wouldn’t want to do; but the moment he first went to the trouble of going to consumer court why not just go with the usual ‘ticket agent in Mathura was not acting in accordance with our standards and is being retrained; here’s a refund’? or ‘there’s $10 and a refund in it for you if you sign this agreement that the whole matter was resolved to your satisfaction and don’t talk further about it’?

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