The Central Mumbai district's consumer dispute redressal forum has held the Volkswagen Group Sales India Pvt Ltd and Volkswagen Downtown Mumbai-Shaman Cars Pvt Ltd, guilty of providing a faulty car to its customer, thus directing them to refund the cost of the car to the consumer. The forum has directed the two to pay back Rs9,48,088 to the consumer, along with nine per cent interest rate on the amount from October 2011. The forum has further directed them to pay Rs25,000 towards the complainant's mental agony along with an additional amount of Rs10,000 towards the complainant's litigation cost.
According to complainant Praful Chheda's version, he had purchased the Volkswagen car worth Rs 9,48,088 on March 31, 2011. As Chedda is a businessman and frequently drives from Navi Mumbai to Nashik, he had opted for the high-priced car. However, upon delivery, Chedda realised that the vehicle didn't have the rear driver side light panel, and the car was sent to the workshop of Shaman cars in June-2011. "In the month of July/August-2011 when the car was driven only 2313 km, it suddenly created a loud noise from the front wheel and steering wheel, and was again sent for check up at the same workshop. A few days after that, it again started giving problems and Chheda had to resend the car to the workshop. After 13 days, the car's gear box started giving problems. After it was repaired, the car again broke down in March-2012, when Chedda was coming from Nashik to Mumbai. The car was stalled midway as its fuel pump stopped working. Chedda had to tow back the car to the workshop, where the fuel pump was then replaced," reads the complaint's version as per the forum's order copy.
That's not all. On August 27, 2012, when Chedda was driving it, the car stopped in the middle of the road and was then taken to the workshop, where it is lying till date. Tired of the car's numerous breakdowns, Chedda approached the firm and asked for a refund, but his request was turned down. Aggrieved by this, Chedda approached the forum.
The forum, after going through the evidence, asked the firm to file its reply, to which the latter claimed that there was no manufacturing defect. "The complainant is a frequent traveler to Nashik with considerable road speed and has driven the car roughly. The problem was also due to rough driving, rough roads and pot holes. We then informed the complainant that it was repaired and called him to take the delivery of the car and we were thus not at fault."
The forum, after going through the evidence held, "It is most important that a customer feels confident, safe and secure while traveling in the vehicle purchased by him after spending a huge amount. The company cannot avoid its liability by saying that the complainant has driven the car roughly and that the problem was due to rough roads, pot holes and excessive use. One purchases a car for use and not for keeping it in a showcase."
The forum thus held the firm guilty of providing faulty services to its consumer, and directed it to pay the fine.