lpg cylinder expiry date

Have you Checked your Cylinder for its Expiry Date?

[su_quote]Five killed in a LPG Cylinder Blast – The Hindu; Three killed in a LPG Cylinder Blast in Bangalore – The Times Of India; LPG Cylinder Blast in Bangalore Temple Creates Panic – Indian Express. [/su_quote]

Read any newspaper, and one can spot at least one incident of a cylinder blast being reported every week. What was supposed to be a one-off incident is now becoming a regular affair in the households of India. But hardly does one ponder over the reason and cause of such incidents. Why do such accidents happen? Can such incidences be avoided? If yes, how? Read to understand:

What do reports say?

As per reports, there is no one specific reason that causes a cylinder blast. Many of the cases are attributed to reckless and careless usage of gas cylinders and hot plates. The other major reason of such an incident is [su_highlight background=”#e0ef6f”]distribution of an expired LPG cylinder by the distributor, and ignorance of the consumer in accepting it[/su_highlight].

Cylinders have expiry dates too!

Yes! The gas cylinder that you have in your home has an expiry date stamped on its head. According to sources, expired LPG cylinders are cylinders who have passed their validity dates, and are due for statutory testing before they can be considered fit for domestic or commercial usage. Hence they are virtually unsafe to be used, as such [su_highlight background=”#e0ef6f”]cylinders are prone to gas leakage from valves which leads to explosion. Sometimes such cylinders get blasted in the delivery vehicle itself[/su_highlight].

According to an expert from a petroleum company, “the expiry date of a cylinder denotes the year and month when the cylinder is due for statutory testing. If a defect is found, it is repaired and after getting a certification from BIS [Bureau of Indian Standards], the cylinder is again put into circulation. However if the already repaired cylinder is again found to be damaged during subsequent statuary test, the cylinder is scrapped.”

How do I find out my gas cylinder’s expiry date?

There is a very simple method to determine the expiry date of a gas cylinder.

Each cylinder comes with three vertical stay plates (side stems) near its head. Besides carrying the weight information, one of the side stem carries some alpha-numeric code which is the expiry date of that particular gas cylinder. Here’s how to decode the expiry date.

[su_highlight background=”#e0ef6f”]Letter A stands for January to March; B covers April to June; C stands for July to September and D connotes the time period of October –  December. So if the  characters on the vertical stay plates carry the date ‘A – 07’, it means the expiry date of the cylinder was March 2007[/su_highlight].  Similarly, ‘A-14’ will indicate that the expiry date of the particular cylinder is March 2014. A cylinder that is used beyond the expiry date  invites hazard, and should be promptly returned to the distributor.

Premium Legal SupportIt is important to note here that the date stands for expiry date of the cylinder and not of the liquefied petroleum gas that resides inside. But it is in the interest of consumers to always check for the expiry date of a cylinder while receiving a refill from the distributor.

 What else do I need to check when I receive my refill?

Besides checking the expiry date, you should also check the points mentioned below as they are in your safety and interest:

  • Always check the seal of the cylinder
  • Check the safety cap. It should not have any cracks
  • Remove the safety cap and check for leakage from the valve
  • Get the new cylinder connected with your hotplate and make sure no leakage is observed

 Our View

As per a TOI article, awareness about the validity of the cylinders within consumers is still low. Taking advantage of this ignorance, gas agencies and distributors pass an expired cylinder to consumers. The report states that, “Since a good percentage of people do not know about the fact that even cylinders have expiry dates, it goes unnoticed.”

The article clearly states that the onus of checking expiry date of a gas cylinder rests on consumers. As consumers, you have the right to reject a cylinder whose expiry date is near. So exercise the power that you have, and ensure safety of yourself and your loved ones.

 

doctors are gods consumer king

If Doctors are Gods, Then Consumers are Kings

At Power to Consumer, we feel it is our moral obligation to make our blog readers aware of the powers of being a consumer. And the strength the term carries. One such area where we feel we really need to empower our readers of their rights is in the area of medical negligence. Time and again we have come across cases where the callousness of a medical professional caused grave consequences to the life of an innocent patient.

We want to make you aware of certain real life cases, and the legal course that was taken, so you know how to seek justice should an unforeseen situation trap you or your loved ones.

The first case study that we had covered in this domain was the case of a Jai Prakash Mehta vs. an ENT Specialist. Today, we will be talking about the case of Dr. Balram Haldar Vs. Dr. Kunal Saha & Ors.

Overview

Dr. Kunal Saha’s wife Smt. Anuradha Saha developed severe skin rashes all over body. She had developed Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, a rare, life-threatening skin condition usually caused by reaction to drugs. She started visiting Sukumar Mukherjee, a doctor at Nightingale Diagnostic Center, Kolkata. Seeing no improvement in her condition, Dr. Kunal Saha got her admitted in the ‘Advanced Medicare and Research Institute Limited (AMRI), Kolkata’. But there instead of showing improvement, her condition worsened. Finally, Dr. Kunal decided to admit her to the reputed Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai. Unfortunately, Mrs. Saha breathed her last in that hospital in a span of just ten days.

An Aggrieved Dr. Saha Lodged a Complaint

Premium Legal SupportShocked at the death of her wife, Dr. Kunal Saha felt strongly in his heart that it was the sheer callousness of all the doctors treating his wife that led to her death. He knew that it was a severe case of medical negligence, and he took it upon himself to fight for justice. He, accordingly, served legal notices upon the doctors of AMRI alleging negligence and deficiency in their treatment. He claimed a total compensation of Rs.55 crores  from the Hospital.

But AMRI dismissed his complaint.

Approaching Consumer Court

Aggrieved at the dismissal, he filed a case in the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission slapping a compensation of over seventy-five crores on AMRI, Kolkata. He also filed another case of Rs.25 crores against Breach Candy Hosptial, Mumbai, but later withdrew the same. The compensation amount that Dr. Kunal Saha was the highest ever claimed by a complainant for the cause of medical negligence. 

The Legal Battle Began

A protracted trial taking note of the legal position governing the question of medical negligence followed. But the National Commission dismissed Dr. Kunal Saha’s complaint stating [su_highlight background=”#99fbff”]that doctors or surgeons do not undertake that they will positively cure a patient.  There may be occasions beyond the control of the medical practitioner to cure the patients.[/su_highlight]

Aggrieved by the dismissal of his complaint, Dr. Kunal took the matter to the Honourable Supreme Court of India through a Civil Appeal. The Apex Court through its Order remanded the matter to the National Commission, but only for the limited purpose of determining the adequate compensation. The Supreme Court observed that:

 “[su_highlight background=”#99fbff”]So far as the judgment of the National Commission is concerned, it was clearly wrong in opining that there was no negligence on the part of the Hospital or the doctors. [/su_highlight]We remit the case back to the Commission, but only for the purpose of determination of the quantum of compensation. We further direct that if any foreign experts are to be examined it shall be done only through video conferencing and at the cost of the respondents”.

Persistence Always Pays

Premium Legal SupportOn being remanded back, Dr. Saha’s case was elaborately discussed by the Honourable National Commission. They decided to grant compensation to the tune of 1.5 crores in favor of Dr. Kunal Saha.

But the case didn’t end here.

Several re-appeals were made against the quantum of compensation. Both by AMRI to scale down and by Dr. Kunal Saha for enhancement. The re-appeals were filed in the Supreme Court. The Apex Court amalgamated all said appeals and passed a landmark verdict.

[su_highlight background=”#99fbff”]The Honourable Supreme Court passed a judgement in favor of Dr. Kunal Saha by levying a fine on AMRI and the three doctors. They were asked to pay a compensation to the tune of 11 crores that included the interest from the date the case was filed by Dr. Kunal Saha.  [/su_highlight]. Out of this compensation amount, the Honourable Supreme Court was pleased to award a substantial amount on account of Consortium, also beside other losses, being incurred so far – [Consortium means companionship, affection & assistance that each Spouse in a marriage is entitled to receive from the other].

The judgement also set a milestone for the highest amount of compensation granted in a case of medical negligence. The Apex Court also directed the erring three doctors & hospital to file a compliance report of payment to Dr. Kunal Saha within the next eight weeks.

Our blog readers can read more about the case on the Supreme Court’s website at www.stpl-india.in the case titled as Dr. Balram Haldar vs. Dr. Kunal Saha and Ors.

Our View

This particular case was a landmark decision in the area of medical negligence. It tested the limits of patience of a consumer. But in the end the consumer came victorious as the right judgement was accorded. We are sure that the passed verdict will be a deterrent for hospitals and doctors to take act responsibly.

Doctors are considered as Gods on earth. We entrust our life as well as the lives of our precious ones in their hands thinking that they will do their best to serve us, as they are bonded by the Hippocratic Oath to practice medicine honestly. The least we can expect them is to uphold their professional standards.

What you can do now?

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of such medical negligence, log on to www.powertoconsumer.in and submit your complaint. We will do our best to help you exercise your power as a consumer.

insurance provider

Mis-selling of Insurance Policies

In a recently published article that appeared in a respected financial newspaper the topic of customers facing problems in their insurance policies was covered. The article quoted excerpts from an analysis done by a social media marketing company. The analysis covered complaints posted by consumers on various social media channels regarding three insurance topics:

  • Settlement of policies
  • Renewal of policies
  • Payment of first premiums

Of the three points analysed, maximum complaints were registered in the ‘settlement of policy’ subject. A deeper analysis revealed that mis-selling was the biggest trouble spot, followed by policy termination, online renewals and missing documents.

What is mis-selling?

In a definition quoted in Wikipedia, “mis-selling refers to the deliberate, reckless, or negligent sale of products or services in circumstances where the contract is either misrepresented, or the product or service is unsuitable for the customer’s needs. For example, selling life insurance to someone who has no dependents is regarded as mis-selling.”

What steps are being taken to prevent mis-selling?

Premium Legal SupportAccording to the article, ‘the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority made it a mandate to make ‘insurance processes’ more transparent and customer centric. Various steps have been taken in this direction in the recent past to improve product design and bring changes in sales practices.’ There are also various regulatory measures that the IRDA has put in place to provide a framework for protection. Measures like:

  • Option of Free Look Cancellation within 15 days of receiving a policy document
  • Prohibiting misleading publications for soliciting or selling of policies
  • Licensing of insurance intermediaries such as agents and brokers
  • Prescribed code of conduct for operations

But the numbers of complaints that the study received paint a different picture. So, what can you as a consumer do to stay away from such unethical practices? The answer is simple: stay alert! stay empowered!

How can you do so?

As said earlier, our objective at Power to Consumer is to not just resolve your complaints, but empower you. And we believe the best way to empower consumers is to make them aware of case studies covering the subject of mis-selling. This way you can be aware of the pitfalls and avoid getting trapped into one.

  • Case Study 1: Yashu Vashishath vs. Birla Sun Life Insurance Company

Yashu Vashishath, a student from Chandigarh, had approached Birla Sun Life Insurance Company to get a policy that catered to the requirements of his admission to a university in Wisconsin, USA for further studies. He paid a premium amount of Rs. 1 Lakh and left for US. On reaching US,  he realised that the policy that he is holding in his hands is worthless, as it was not recognized by the University. [su_highlight background=”#99fbff”]Birla Sun Life Insurance Company in the spirit of selling an insurance policy withheld back the crucial information that their policy is not valid overseas. [/su_highlight]. This was a clear case of mis-selling on the part of the insurance company.

Yashu took the case with Insurance Ombudsman who directed the Company to refund the paid amount, but they paid no heed. He then approached the UT District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum at Premium Legal SupportChandigarh who withheld the decision, and direction of said Ombudsman; and accordingly awarded only the refund of surrender value to Yashu Vashishath.

  • Case Study 2: Uni Ply Industries Limited vs. New India Assurance Company Limited

In a second case, the designated National Commission granted a verdict in favour of Uni Ply Industries, and rejected the appeal of New India Assurance Company Limited on the grounds that it is the duty of the policy issuing company to highlight important terms and conditions in their policy document.  The Company had issued a one-page policy document to Uni Ply Industries without a mention of the terms and conditions.

The Honourable National Commission in its verdict said that ‘Merely issuing a cover note on the policy doesn’t absolve the Insurance Company of its responsibilities. [su_highlight background=”#99fbff”] They need to ensure that the policy terms and conditions are clearly communicated to the insured, and any special conditions or warranties are clear and free of ambiguous words.[/su_highlight] Ambiguity in the terms of the policy will be against the insurer since it drafts to the policy wording.’ The Commission also set aside the role that a Surveyor plays in processing claims. It quoted that if the surveyor’s assessment is not in line with the terms of contract or all material facts are not considered, it is likely to be set aside.

What can you do now?

If you or any one you know is a victim of insurance policy mis-selling, you can approach us and we can help you resolve your complaint by providing you all possible legal support.