2 Oct 2023 11:00 AM GMT
The Ernakulam District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission bench comprising of D.B Binu (President), Ramachandran (Member) and Sreevidhia T.N (Member) held a hearing aid centre liable of deficiency in services and unfair trade practices for selling a defective hearing aid piece to the complainant and for not refunding the price of a defective hearing aid even after accepting...
The Ernakulam District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission bench comprising of D.B Binu (President), Ramachandran (Member) and Sreevidhia T.N (Member) held a hearing aid centre liable of deficiency in services and unfair trade practices for selling a defective hearing aid piece to the complainant and for not refunding the price of a defective hearing aid even after accepting the equipment returned by the customer for replacement.
Brief facts of the case:
On November 8, 2019, Mr. Krishnaraj (“Complainant”) purchased a hearing aid for ₹14,900 from the Dwani Hearing Aid Centre (“Trader”), located in Vyttila, on behalf of his mother, Sukumari. The transaction was substantiated with a bill. However, it soon became evident that the hearing aid was malfunctioning and defective. Following the trader's instructions, the Complainant returned the faulty hearing aid for replacement on November 18, 2019. Despite multiple attempts to obtain either a replacement or a refund for the defective product, the trader consistently refused to cooperate and did not provide any valid reason for this refusal. The Complainant contended that these actions inflicted significant mental distress and financial losses on both himself and his mother. Frustrated with the lack of cooperation from the trader, the complainant took the step of serving a legal notice, but this too proved ineffective in resolving the matter. Aggrieved, the Complainant filed a consumer complaint in the Ernakulam District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (“District Commission”).
The trader challenged the complainant’s status as a consumer under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, claiming that the hearing aid had been purchased by someone named Sukumari, not by the complainant himself. Additionally, they asserted that their role was limited to fitting and dispensing hearing aids from Starkey Laboratories Pvt. Ltd., absolving them of responsibility for servicing or maintenance. The trader denied the allegations that the hearing aid was defective and instead argued that it was in proper working condition.
Observations by the Commission:
The District Commission observed that the complainant had procured a hearing aid for his mother, Sukumari, which was later found to be defective. Following the trader's guidance, he returned the faulty product for a replacement. However, the trader consistently refused to fulfil this request and instead proposed a refund. The District Commission found these actions, particularly the refusal to address the defective product and the alleged verbal abuse, to constitute a clear instance of deficiency in services and unfair trade practices on the part of the trader. The trader's reluctance to address the issue and its refusal to provide a replacement or refund, as originally instructed, was deemed a breach of ethical business practices.
In light of the established deficiency in services and unfair trade practices on the part of the trader, the District Commission directed the trader to refund ₹14,900 to the complainant and an additional compensation of ₹50,000 for the mental anguish and physical hardships endured by him. The trader was further directed to cover the cost of the legal proceedings, amounting to ₹10,000.
Case: Krishnaraj S Vs Dwani Hearing Aid Centre
Case No: CC/20/250
Advocate for the Complainant: Amarnath
Advocate for the Respondent: N. Satheesh, K. Janardhana Shenoy and Vimal Dev
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