National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi


            
             Anupam Dasgupta, Presiding Member and Suresh Chandra, Member
              Maruti Udyog Limited (Renamed as Maruti Suzuki India Ltd) & Anr Petitioners
             
              Versus
R Sachdev & Ors Respondents

Revision Petition No. 565 of 2007 & 972 of 2007 Decided on 6.8.2012
(From the order dated 29.11.2006 of the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Delhi in
Appeal Nos. A-762, 852 and 855 of 2006) Consumer Protection Act, 1986 - Sections 15, 17, 19 and 21 - Automobile - Manufacturing defect - State Commission directed Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and Competent Automobiles Company Ltd to pay to Complainant a sum of Rs. 2 lakh and Rs. 50,000, respectively - Version of CACL regarding complaints in car are absolutely

correct and supported by job card - Noise reduction measure had been refuted by CACL (Dealer) - There is
absolutely no material on record to come to conclusion that fuel consumption of car was excessive and ran
for 5-6 kms per litre of petrol as against 12-15 km per litre as assured by Manufacturer/Dealer - Complainant has not been able to establish even a fragment of his allegation - Impugned orders of State Commission as well as that of District Forum set aside.

Result: Revision petitions allowed.

 

Important Point
                Frivolous complaint petition cannot be allowed.
 Order

Anupam Dasgupta, Presiding Member - These two revision petitions challenge the Order dated 29.11.2006 of the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Delhi (in short, 'the State Commission'), by which the State Commission disposed of three appeals (Nos. 762, 852 and 855 of 2006) filed respectively by the two Petitioners before us as well as Respondent No. 1 in both the petitions who was the Complainant before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, New Delhi (in short, 'the District Forum'). The other two Respondents in, RP No. 565 of 2007 are ICICI Bank Ltd and the Petitioner in RP No. 972 of 2007. For the sake of convenience, we will refer to the Petitioner in RP No. 565 of 2007 as Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL), Petitioner in RP No. 972 of 2007 as Competent Automobiles Company Ltd (CACL), Customer Care Unit of ICICI Bank as 'the Bank' and R Sachdev as 'the Complainant '.                                      
                                      
2.   (i) The case of the Complainant before the District Forum was that he was 'persuaded' to buy a Maruti Baleno VXI model car from CACL which was the dealer of MSIL, manufacturer of the car. For this, he paid Rs. 3,03,015 as down payment and the balance by way of loan made available by the Bank. He alleged that despite the down payment cheque not having been credited to the account of CACL, the car was delivered by a salesperson of the said dealer on 27.02.2005, i.e., a Sunday. Moreover, the Bank sanctioned the loan, without any verification of his financial status in a day or two, because the first discussion with the salesperson of CACL took place only on 25.02.2005. On this basis, he claimed that this was an elaborate and collusive marketing gimmick to pressurise a senior citizen into buying this car instead of a WagonR which he had thought of buying as the car best suited for his requirements. According to the Complainant, his requirements for a car were (a) very comfortable both to drive as well as to be driven in; (b) very good interiors, which would be long-lasting; (c) good pick-up and stable driving at all speeds; (d) very good air-conditioning without the use of the illegal "policy" (sic?) film; (e) fuel-efficient, giving at least 15-16 km per litre of petrol, as fuel guzzlers were on the Complainant 's "hate list" as he saw it as a crime and a national wastage to use a fuel guzzling vehicles; (f) with low-costing and easily available spares; and (g) easily manoeuvrable and small to fit tight parking spaces in Delhi.

 

ii) Further, according to the complaint, the Complainant had already decided to go in for the WagonR or because " in my heart of hearts I knew no one could change my rightly taken decision as this car, i.e., WagonR fitted all my requirements as given out by Maruti Udyog Limited".

(iii) To support his allegations of mala fide intentions and dubious marketing practices of MSIL, CACL and the Bank, the Complainant added that he was offered free insurance on the car and Maruti genuine parts which included an MP3 Player and a Mini Car Fridge at a combined price of Rs. 18,000 as per the estimate of the dealer.

(iv) As regards the car, the Complainant alleged that it was very noisy to drive (including underbody noise) and the suspension (including the rear suspension) was "absolute failure". With these complaints, he took the car to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi
Anupam Dasgupta, Presiding Member and Suresh Chandra, Member Maruti Udyog Limited (Renamed as Maruti Suzuki India Ltd) & Anr Petitioners Versus R Sachdev & Ors Respondents Revision Petition No. 565 of 2007 & 972 of 2007 Decided on 6.8.2012 (From the order dated 29.11.2006 of the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Delhi in Appeal Nos. A-762, 852 and 855 of 2006) Consumer Protection Act, 1986 - Sections 15, 17, 19 and 21 - Automobile - Manufacturing defect - State Commission directed Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and Competent Automobiles Company Ltd to pay to Complainant a sum of Rs. 2 lakh and Rs. 50,000, respectively - Version of CACL regarding complaints in car are absolutely correct and supported by job card - Noise reduction measure had been refuted by CACL (Dealer) - There is absolutely no material on record to come to conclusion that fuel consumption of car was excessive and ran for 5-6 kms per litre of petrol as against 12-15 km per litre as assured by Manufacturer/Dealer - Complainant
has not been able to establish even a fragment of his allegation - Impugned orders of State Commission as well as that of District Forum set aside.Result: Revision petitions allowed.Important Point Frivolous complaint petition cannot be allowed. Order workshop of CACL, where he was advised by an attending person to replace the (originally supplied) tyres with tubeless tyres. He did so at the cost of Rs. 10,000 but the problem persisted. He further alleged that he got the car inspected by another garage (Dealer - Bagga Link Motors Ltd at Link Road, New Delhi), where it was found that the engine mounting bolts were very loose, suspension link arm bolts were also loose and one of them was missing. These defects were, however, taken care of by CACL, according to the Complainant.       

(v) Further, while the dealer - CACL had assured that the car would do 15 kms to a litre of petrol, the actual consumption was 6-7 kms per litre. This led to huge financial loss to the Complainant.
(vi) He was also persuaded to go for Teflon coating on the car at the instance of the CACL at the cost of Rs. 5,500, which permanently damaged the original paint work of the car and the car lost its sheen and newness.

(vii) He further alleged that the gears slipped from the fifth to the neutral position because of loss of power, whenever the car met with a bump on the road.

(viii) He further alleged of inferior quality of plastic and rubber parts, hardening of wipers making their movement noisy and jerky and having to spend additional sums to buy high quality imported foot mats in order to control the underbody noise, extremely costly and not easily available spare parts, defective stereo sound system leading to the sound cracking at higher volumes and non-functioning of car fridge and MP3 player.

(ix) The Complainant also alleged that though the Bank officials had stated that the interest on the loan was 7.5% per annum, the actual rate of interest was more than 9% per annum and despite his many phone calls, the Bank did not furnish him the Amortisation Schedule which was mandatory.       

(x) Finally, he alleged that the insurance company, which provided the insurance cover for his car was hand-in-glove with the dealer - CACL, because the latter paid the insurance premium for the first year. Moreover, the insurance company did not settle the Complainant s claim after a theft had taken place in the car though he filed his claim well in time after completing all the legal formalities.

(xi) With these allegations, he prayed for refund of the entire amount paid for the car, with interest @ 18% per annum and compensation of Rs. 3 lakh for harassment, etc.   

3. (i) Both MSIL and CACL contested the complaint before the District Forum by filing written version and supporting documents.
 (ii) CACL stated that after purchase of the car in late February 2005, the Complainant brought the car to CACL workshop on 03.03.2005 complaining of noise from the front side of the car. This was attended to and the Complainant took the car after executing satisfaction note. On 11.03.2005, the Complainant again came to CACL workshop for re-inspection of Teflon coating of the car, which was done. Finally, on 22.03.2005, the Complainant brought the car to CACL workshop for the first free servicing, which was done as would be evident from the relevant job card. CACL specifically stated that after 22.03.2005, the Complainant never brought his car to its garage/workshop. CACL further stated that it was, therefore, surprised to receive the legal notice dated 27.05.2005 from the Complainant alleging the following:
 
(a) Hot and cold container not working;
(b) car had noise;
(c) car did not give 12-13 km mileage despite use of high speed petrol;
(d) original paint had been spoiled due to defective service.      

 

In this notice, the Complainant claimed refund of the payment made for the car along with 18% compound interest as well as damages or new car in lieu of the present defective car within 15 days of the receipt of the notice. CACL replied in detail to this legal notice. While denying each and every allegation, the CACL also offered to the Complainant to bring the car to its workshop and assured that if there was any problem it would be duly attended to. It was specifically stated that the Complainant had never complained about the hot and cold container, engineers of the CACL did not advise the Complainant about the purchase of radial car tyres in connection with the problem of noise in the car. Petrol consumption of the car could be tested if the car was brought to the CACL and any problem noticed in this connection could be rectified, and, that if there was any problem with the Teflon coating it could be examined only if the car was brought for inspection.

(iii) On the other hand, MSIL contended in its written version that there was no manufacturing defect in the car and that the Complainant did not point out any defect, which could be construed as manufacturing defect, as would be clear from the job card of the first service on 22.03.2005. In particular, the MSIL contended that it had taken 13 measures for noise reduction, suspension system of the car was in order and the problems faced by the Complainant were mainly on account of the speed breakers of Delhi roads, which were not in accordance with the standard specification prescribed by the Central Road Research Institute.There was no false representation regarding the fuel consumption of the car which depended on various factors.   

 

4. On consideration of pleadings and evidence, the District Forum partly allowed the complaint by observing as under:
"xxxxxxxxx
Admittedly, delivery of the car had been taken on 27.02.2005. The complaint regarding problem about the front side noise was raised on 03.03.2005 as per written arguments filed on behalf of Opposite Party No. 2 wherein, it is further stated that the problem was duly checked and for rectification of the problem, the bumper of the car was also adjusted from right hand side. Thus, the factum of defect of noise in the car is admitted. It is also common ground of the parties that the Complainant did take the car to the workshop of the Dealer with that complaint. According to the Opposite Party, the defect was rectified. However, no document or any other corroboration in this regard is forthcoming. As against this, version of the Complainant that the problem still persisted is substantiated from his uncontroverted averments in paragraph 22 that he showed the vehicle in question to another dealer - Bagga Link Motors Ltd at Link Road, New Delhi, where the car was examined and it was found that (a) the engine mounting bolts were very loose; (b) the suspension link arm bolts were also loose and one of them was missing, which defects could have caused serious injuries to the occupants by way of an accident or serious damage to the car. The said dealer examined the car on 12.03.2005, subsequent to the alleged rectification of the defect on 03.03.2005 as per version of the Opposite Party No. 2. It is significant to note that all this was at the initial stage of taking delivery of this new car of upper mid segment, which was within warranty period as per pleas of the Opposite Party No. 3. It may be mentioned that the Opposite Party No. 3 has detailed 13 measures available in vehicle for noise reduction but it is nowhere its case that the car is noise free. The case of the Complainant that he spent money to replace the tyres and putting three layers of imported mats (to avoid noise) has not been refuted by the dealer. From the above findings, it is evident that the Complainant, a consumer, suffered on account of defect in the vehicle, it being not noise free, and also suffered financially on account of its not giving mileage as represented and, expected and, hence, he is entitled to be compensated on these accounts. A sum of Rs. 5,000 in this regard appears to be reasonable and sufficient."

5. The District Forum, however, specifically observed that it had been admitted by all the parties that the Bank had taken possession of the car from the Complainant on 23.03.2006 for non-payment of loan.

6. Against this order, the Complainant filed two appeals one vis-a-vis the MSIL and the other vis-a-vis the Bank. MSIL also filed an appeal against the said order of the District Forum. After a long winded general discussion, the State Commission dismissed the appeal of MSIL and allowed that of the Complainant by directing the MSIL and CACL to pay to the Complainant a sum of Rs. 2 lakh and Rs. 50,000, respectively.

7. We have heard Lalit Bhasin, learned counsel for MSIL, Ms Sapna Sinha learned counsel for CACL and Swatantra Dev learned counsel for the ICICI Bank and considered the documents brought on record.

8. It is evident from the records produced by the parties that the version of CACL regarding the complaints in the car are absolutely correct and supported by the job card. There was one complaint of noise in the front side of the car, which was attended on 03.03.2005 by adjusting the right hand side bumper. The next job card related to re-inspection of Teflon coating on 11.03.2005 and the third job card dated 24.03.2005 was only in respect of the first free servicing of the car and did not mention any problem whatsoever. The District Forum as well as the State Commission had gone completely by the averment of the Complainant in paragraph 22 of the complaint that he took his car to another MSIL
dealer viz., Bagga Link Motors Ltd on 13.03.2005, where the car was examined and it was found that the engine mounting bolts as well as the suspension link arm bolts were loose and one of them was missing. However, photocopy of the invoice dated 12.03.2005 of Bagga Link Motors Ltd in respect of Complainant s car (Page 50 of the paper book of RP No. 565 of 2007) has no detail in support of these averments of the Complainant. Likewise, the averment of MSIL that it had adopted 13 measures for noise reduction has been stood out of its head by the District Forum as well as the State Commission to construe it as an admission that the car was not noise free. Despite specific averments of the CACL in paragraph 22 of the written version, the District Forum has observed that the Complainant had spent extra money to replace the original tyres with radial tyres on the basis of advice of CACL. Noise reduction measure had been refuted by CACL (dealer). There is absolutely no material on record to come to a conclusion that fuel consumption of the car was excessive and ran for 5-6 km per litre of petrol as against 12-15
km per litre as assured by the manufacturer/dealer. Yet, the District Forum came to the conclusion that the Complainant had suffered financially on account of car's mileage ''as represented and expected". It is, thus, abundantly clear that the Complainant has not been able to establish even a fragment of his allegation, which in some case are a figment of imagination. The entire complaint appears to be the result of absurd expectations of a highly optimized person who clearly purchased the car and he could not afford to repay after taking the loan but made every possible attempt to seek a way out of financial difficulties by making unjust claims on the dealer/manufacturer of the car.

9. In conclusion, both the revision petitions of MSIL and CACL are allowed and the impugned orders of the State Commission as well as that of the District Forum are set aside. However, in the circumstances of the case, parties are left to bear their own cost.
     
                                      

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