Hyderabad: The consumer dispute redressal commission on 16 March ordered Maruti Suzuki and its authorized dealer Gem Motors India Limited to pay Rs. 2 lakh as compensation to a customer for not repairing the dent in the vehicle.
The complainant, M.V Subrahmanyam, a resident of Kothapet, purchased Maruti S-Cross ZETA in November from Gem Motors, Malakpet, for Rs. 12,68,209.
The complainant alleged that a month later he noticed tiny scratches on the bonnet, doors, and roof of the car. Also, a foul smell was coming into the car from the AC vents, the front glass windows jerked every time he pressed the button to close them, and the mudguard for one of the back wheels and side steel beading were not fitted properly.
Mr. Subrahmanyam brought all these issues to the general manager who suggested he get the car coated with teflon so that the scratches may disappear. The former took the advice and explained all his problems to the service personnel. However, the problems were not attended to properly for which the same was reported to GM. They teflon-coated the vehicle at a cost of Rs. 4,956 but did not replace the mudguard. The window panels were adjusted but not up to the mark and the same problem persisted.
From December 2018, the complainant daughter tried several times to reach the higher authorities of the opposite party to bring their problems to their notice but she could not succeed, except for the toll free number given on the booklet.
"Every time some new official received the call and s/he just listened to the problems. All the efforts made by my daughter to contact the higher officials of the opposite party were in vain," said the complainant.
Within a month after the first servicing, tiny scratches again appeared in new places and again Mr. Subrahmanyam brought it to the notice of the opposite party. This time the latter agreed to teflon-coat the vehicle for free of cost. The same was done on 11 March 2019.
The complainant contacted every other authorized dealer of Maruti Suzuki but their problems were not resolved. The complainant requested them either to replace the vehicle or the bonnet and all the doors on which scratches were found. The complainant and his daughter also requested them to send the vehicle to the manufacturing unit but that was not accepted. Instead, the opposite party tried to convince the complainant and his daughter by saying that the vehicle will be treated as second hand if any parts are painted or replaced with new ones.
Meanwhile, Gem Motors replied that the appearance of scratches over the body of the car is not a manufacturing defect or service defect. The scratches may occur due to external factors like not properly cleaning the body of the car. "In order to attend the concerns of the complainant, the opposite party has already offered paint work and replacement of the bumper which was not accepted by the complainant. The complainant appears to have not adhered or followed the said guidelines in the user manual. There is no deficiency of service on the part of this opposite party," said Gem Motors.
While Maruti Suzuki said that the allegations and contentions raised by the complainant is out of warranty policy which has been duly informed to the complainant for which this complaint is not maintainable against the company. "The issue of scratches as alleged is outside the warranty clause as per clause 4(5), clause 4(9) and 4(13) of the warranty policy. This opposite party is not held responsible or liable for the failure on the part of the complainant for which the complaint is liable to be dismissed," said Maruti Suzuki.
After observing all the documents and evidence, the commission observed that the attitude of the opposite parties is negligent and they are not bothered to protect the interest of the customers who purchased their vehicles by spending such huge amounts. "They are trying to blame the complainant for the scratches appearing on the body of the car. These acts upon the part of the opposite parties amounts to deficiency of service which leads to adoption of unfair trade practice and due to the negligent acts, the complainant and his daughter have been undergoing mental agony that cannot be measured in terms of money," said the commission.
It asked the company to refund a sum of Rs. 10, 45,000 (cost of the vehicle) with interest of 12 per cent from the date of purchase. It also asked the company to Rs. 2 lakhs towards compensation for causing mental agony and stress to the complainant and his family members and pay Rs. 10,000 towards litigation.