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Airline, hotel payments for sister-in-law weren't a gift, tribunal says

One of the women "failed to prove the payments were a gift."
B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal says a woman failed to prove payments were a gift.

The Civil Resolution Tribunal has ordered a B.C. woman to pay her former sister-in-law almost $3,000 in airfare and hotel accommodation following claims it was a gift.

According to a Sept. 25 decision, Amandeep Kaur covered the expenses for Jagpreet Kaur Shergill in the spring of 2021. Kaur said the payments were a personal loan to Shergill at her request, and Shergill has refused to pay up. Kaur claimed reimbursement of $2,974.

Shergill, meanwhile, told the tribunal it was all a gift from Kaur and she owes nothing.

Shergill didn’t dispute the amount of Kaur’s claim. What she did dispute was that the amount Kaur claimed was a loan.

Kaur submitted credit card statements and emails, which showed she paid for Shergill’s airfare from Delhi to Mexico City on July 4, 2021; one night’s hotel accommodation in Mexico City on July 4, 2021; and three nights’ hotel accommodation in Toronto from July 6 to 9, 2021.

Kaur also submitted an excerpt from a credit card statement showing she paid $757.05 to “SOHI Vacations” on June 13, 2021. Kaur said it is for airfare and Shergill did not specifically dispute this amount, or that Kaur paid for her to fly from India to Canada.

“I find the $757.05 payment was likely for Miss Shergill’s airfare from Mexico City to Toronto,” tribunal member Sarah Orr said. “I am satisfied that Ms. Kaur paid a total of $2,974.28 for Ms. Shergill’s airfare and hotel accommodations in July 2021.”

Kaur told the tribunal Shergill had asked her to pay for her flight from India to Canada, and for hotel accommodations when she arrived, because she didn't have the funds. Kaur said when Shergill landed in Mexico City for a layover, she phoned Kaur and asked her to pay for her hotel there.

“Ms. Kaur says Miss Shergill promised to repay her once she arrived in Canada but has not done so,” Orr said.

The decision said Shergill denies ever requesting or agreeing to a loan. She said that earlier in the spring of 2021 she had already booked and paid for her flight from India to Canada on July 6, 2021, and her hotel expenses.

Shergill said Kaur insisted on paying for her airfare and hotel expenses, and that Kaur booked and paid for them without consulting her. Shergill says she then had to cancel her original flight and lost money on the transaction.

Orr said Shergill was required to prove Kaur intended the payments as a gift.

“I find Miss Shergill has failed to prove the payments were a gift,” Orr said. “I find the fact that Miss Shergill had a previously booked flight that she later cancelled does not prove that Ms. Kaur paid for Miss Shergill’s airfare or hotel accommodations intending it as a gift.”

Orr added Shergill failed to rebut the presumption that Kaur’s payment of her airfare and hotel expenses was a bargain.

“I find this means the payments were a loan, not a gift,” the tribunal ruled.