Hyderabad: The Hyderabad Consumer Dispute Forum directed Unique Wheels at Shivrampally and ICICI Bank, Financial District branch, to pay Rs 1,70,000 to a customer for causing mental agony and inconvenience.

The complainants, Amardeep and Aylin Hafeeza, residents of Musheerabad, booked a Hyundai Verna car by paying a sum of Rs 1.25 lakh at the showroom of Unique Wheels in December, 2017. The showroom promised to deliver the car in January, 2018.

The customers (complainants) informed the showroom that they would like to avail the loan for the remaining amount, to which the showroom suggested and introduced them to the manager of ICICI Bank Ltd, regional processing centre, who would arrange for the loan. Trusting them, the complainants had opened a bank account with ICICI Bank for smooth and fast approval of the loan.

“In January, 2018, when we enquired about the delivery of the car, the showroom kept on avoiding us on one pretext or the other and failed to deliver the car. The fact is till date, the car has not been delivered to us,” said Amardeep.

However, the bank called the complainant on phone and informed that the loan had been approved and the same will be sanctioned at the time of delivery of the car and also informed that by end of January, 2018, even is the vehicle is not delivered, the complainant has to start paying the EMIs since the loan was approved.

“Being aware of the banking rules and procedures, we started paying the EMI. Moreover, the bankers threatened us saying that if we fail to pay the EMI, we would be put into defaulters list, which would affect the bank manager’s Credit Information Bureau India Limited (CIBIL) score due to which we
paid 3 EMIs totalling to Rs 53,610 though the car was not delivered,” said Amardeep.

The complainants said that having paid three EMIs without the delivery of the car, they approached the bank with a request to cancel the loan but the bank informed them that an amount of Rs 8,40,046 was disbursed to the car showroom and even gave the details of it to them, Further, they expressed their inability to cancel the loan.

“We realised that the loan had already been credited to the account of the showroom without our knowledge and confirmation,” said Amardeep.

The complainants alleged that the showroom has been deficient in their services by not delivering the car even after receiving the money and the bank by failing to cancel the loan and disbursing the amount without confirmation from the complainant and by collecting EMIs forcefully.

Unique Wheels did not respond to the court while the ICICI bank stated that it was the complainants who had approached them for a car loan and after fully being aware of the rate of interest, tenure of the loan, equated monthly instalments of loan and all other terms and conditions, the complainants executed the loan agreement. Further, the bank said that it was only a financing institution and that they were not responsible for any delay or non-delivery of the car by the dealer.

“We are admitting that after the complainants submitted all the relevant papers only, the loan was sanctioned,” the bankers said but denied that they took signatures of the complainants on blank papers.

The non-delivery of the car is the deficiency of the showroom and we have never been deficient in our services since as per the authorization given by the complainants, loan has been disbursed to the showroom. Therefore, we are not liable to refund or compensate the complainant, said the bank.

After examining the documents and facts, the Forum said that the showroom had been very unfair and deficient in its services by not delivering the vehicle despite receiving the full cost of the vehicle.

After a few days, the showroom, it was learnt, had returned the entire loan amount to the bank. The complainant also closed the loan account when the car was not delivered to them.

In such circumstances, it is the bound duty of the bank to refund the 3 EMIs amount to the complainant but the ICICI bank failed to do so. As such the bank has been unfair in holding the 3 EMIs amount from May, 2018, till date in spite of receiving back the complete loan amount from the showroom.

In the wake of the above transactions, the Forum concluded that the showroom had been deficient by not delivering the car in spite of receiving the total cost and the bank has been unfair and deficient by not refunding the 3
EMIs amount, in spite of the closure of the loan account.

The Forum asked the showroom to refund the sum of Rs 1.25 lakh with an interest of 9 per cent from the date they paid the amount till realisation. Also, pay a compensation of Rs 1,00,000 for the hardship and mental agony caused to the complainants.

It also directed the bank to refund the sum of Rs 53,610 with an interest 9 per cent from the date of the last instalment paid and to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 towards the inconvenience caused to the complainants. The Forum asked both showroom and bank to pay Rs 20,000 towards litigation charges

Sumit Kumar Jha

Sumit Kumar Jha is currently a multimedia journalist with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University and Amity University, he has interned with The New Indian Express and CGNet Swara. Sumit has also worked with video production houses in Mumbai as an assistant director in shows like 21 Sarfrosh for Discovery Jeet. He is specialised in Video Production. He was also the contributor at PARI network. Hailing from rural Bihar has spent his childhood shifting from places and people. Growing up he felt the need to document the lives and dreams of rural India. A lover of visual storytelling goes around the cities to search for Stories. He primarily reports on civic, human interest and data stories.

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