Movie Ticket Booking Sites Not Allowed To Charge Internet Handling Fees, Says RBI
With the weekend up on us, many are busy booking tickets to the latest Bollywood as well as Hollywood releases. Much of this will be done online. A service that online ticketing websites charge for, over and above the price of the ticket. However, a latest Right to Information (RTI) query has shown that these charges could very well be unauthorised.
The RTI query to the Reserve Bank of India by Vijay Gopal, president of ‘Forum Against Corruption’ a body fighting against corruption, showed that a user doesn’t have to pay extra while booking movie tickets online through a mobile app or website.
The RBI stated that online platforms through which movie tickets are booked, do not hold the authority to levy handling fees from customers. The reply further explains that this is in violation of the RBI’s Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) regulations.
MDR is the 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. A cost which by its definition means that it should be borne by the merchant/trader and not the customer. However, today’s platforms such as BookMyShow, Paytm and PVR cinemas continue to charge exorbitant ‘internet handling fee’ from customers, which is in violation of the MDR regulations and therefore illegal.
Inc42 noted across the available online mo+vie booking apps that they continue to levy large internet handling fees. While trying to book ticket for two, BookMyShow charged INR 70.80 as internet handling charges, out of which INR 60 was convenience fee and the rest was Central and State GST.