1 Dec 2023 6:30 AM GMT
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Ernakulam (Kerala) bench comprising Mr D.B. Binu (President), Mr Ramachandran (Member) and Mrs Sreevidhia T.N. (Member) dismissed a complaint against Skoda Auto India Pvt. Ltd. and its seller Marikar Engineers Pvt. Ltd. Skoda Division, Chakkal Bypass. The reason for the dismissal was that the Complainant could not prove...
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Ernakulam (Kerala) bench comprising Mr D.B. Binu (President), Mr Ramachandran (Member) and Mrs Sreevidhia T.N. (Member) dismissed a complaint against Skoda Auto India Pvt. Ltd. and its seller Marikar Engineers Pvt. Ltd. Skoda Division, Chakkal Bypass. The reason for the dismissal was that the Complainant could not prove the manufacturing defects in the car and failed to raise the issues within the warranty period. The District Commission emphasized the necessity of expert evidence to substantiate such claims and held that the burden of proof lies on the Complainant to prove the manufacturing defects if contended.
Beenabi Haris (“Complainant”) purchased a Skoda Superb car, manufactured by Skoda Auto India Pvt. Ltd. (“Manufacturer”), from Marikar Engineers Pvt. Ltd. Skoda Division, Chakkal Bypass (“Seller”). Soon after the purchase, the car started making excessive noises and the problem persisted despite multiple visits to the service centres. Eventually, the car was taken to a service centre in Thiruvananthapuram (“Service Centre”), wherein a problem with the car's gearbox was acknowledged. The Seller assured the Complainant that the problem would be fixed by the Manufacturer. After a few months, the Complainant received an estimate of the cost of repair undertaken at the Service Centre and shockingly, it came up to Rs. 5,05,143/-. The Complainant brought the car with him and observed that the gearbox oil had not been changed as required causing significant damage to the car and further, the car's parts were missing. Feeling aggrieved, the Complainant filed a consumer complaint in the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Ernakulam, Kerala (“District Commission”).
In response, the Seller argued that the complaint was not maintainable due to being filed beyond the period of limitation, asserting that the car was purchased in April 2009 and used continuously, rendering it time-barred. It maintained that the car was delivered in satisfactory condition with relevant documents, and any warranty for defective parts had expired by 2011. It further disputed the Complainant's claim of negligence regarding the gearbox oil change, contending that it had advised the Complainant to replace the gearbox oil, but the Complainant declined. Moreover, it emphasized that the burden of proof lies with the Complainant to establish allegations, and no expert evidence has been presented to substantiate manufacturing defects.
Observations by the commission:
The District Commission, while referring to the facts of the complaint, noted that the burden to prove the manufacturing defect in the vehicle is on the Complainant. The District Commission referred to the case of Md. Hassan Khalid Haidar vs. General Motors India Pvt Ltd & Ors. (Revision Petition No. 525 of 2018), where the NCDRC underlined the necessity of expert evidence to substantiate such claims. Further, the District Commission held that in the absence of expert testimony or any tangible evidence establishing a manufacturing defect, the Complaint fails to meet the required burden of proof on him.
Additionally, the District Commission noted that the issues raised by the Complainant were well after the warranty period which expired in 2011. This temporal misalignment weakened the claim of inherent manufacturing defects, suggesting that the vehicle was in use without notable defects for a substantial duration. Addressing the Complaint's claim of damages for the missing part of the vehicle when it was under the custody of the Service Centre, the District Commission found insufficient evidence to conclusively establish negligence or misconduct by the Service Centre.
Consequently, the District Commission held that the Complainant failed to establish his case of proving deficiency in service or unfair trade practices by the Manufacturer and the Seller.
Case Title: Beenabi Haris and Anr. vs Skoda Auto India P Ltd and Anr.
Case No.: Complaint Case No. CC/18/35
Advocate for the Complainant: Anil Thomas
Advocate for the Respondent: P. Fazil
Click Here To Read/Download The Order