20 Sep 2023 10:30 AM GMT
Recently, the Chandigarh District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission – II bench comprising of Amrinder Singh Sidhu (President) and B.M. Sharma (Member) ordered Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) India Automobiles and KAS Cars to refund Rs 61.61 Lakhs and compensation of Rs 65k to the complainant for manufacturing effect in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Brief Facts of the...
Recently, the Chandigarh District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission – II bench comprising of Amrinder Singh Sidhu (President) and B.M. Sharma (Member) ordered Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) India Automobiles and KAS Cars to refund Rs 61.61 Lakhs and compensation of Rs 65k to the complainant for manufacturing effect in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Brief Facts of the Case:
Inderjit Kaur (“Complainant”), a resident of Sector 33-B, Chandigarh, was approached by KAS Cars (“Dealer”) with an offer to purchase a Jeep Grand Cherokee at a substantial discount of Rs 17 lakhs off its showroom price of Rs. 80 lakhs. The vehicle, manufactured in November 2016, was represented as brand new and defect-free. Relying on the offer and the brand's reputation, the Complainant purchased the Jeep Grand Cherokee on September 14, 2018, for a total of Rs 61,61,000.
Shortly after the purchase, the vehicle began experiencing severe issues. It would unexpectedly come to a halt while being driven, posing a significant risk of accidents. The Complainant reported this issue to the dealer, who assured her that it had been resolved. However, the problem persisted, leading Kaur to request a replacement or a refund.
The Complainant argued that the Jeep Grand Cherokee repeatedly malfunctioned shortly after her purchase, despite covering only 12,280 kilometers within the first year. She expressed concern about the safety hazards posed by the car suddenly stopping in the middle of the road. She requested either a replacement or a refund from the dealer and FCA India Automobiles (“manufacturer”), but her requests were denied. She alleged that the vehicle suffered from manufacturing defects and that the manufacturer and the dealer failed to rectify the problem promptly.
The manufacturer contended that the complaint was not maintainable as they sell vehicles with manufacturer warranties to authorized dealers on a wholesale basis. Their contractual obligations are limited to the reimbursement of parts under warranty once the vehicles are sold to authorized dealers. The dealer disputed the complainant's claim that the vehicle suffered from manufacturing defects. They argued that the vehicle's issues were due to external factors, such as rat damage and non-genuine accessory fitments. Both parties denied any negligence or unfair trade practices, asserting that the vehicle was roadworthy and ready for delivery since January 4, 2020. They claimed that the complainant failed to take delivery of the vehicle, further suggesting that her complaints were unwarranted. The manufacturer and the dealer contested the complainant's allegations, maintaining that the vehicle was in proper working condition and that the problems were unrelated to manufacturing defects.
Observations by the Commission:
The District Commission acknowledged that the frequent breakdowns of a car, especially within the first year of purchase and at such low mileage, contradicted the reputation and quality claims associated with the manufacturer, FCA India Automobiles. Furthermore, the District Commission noted the safety hazard posed by the sudden stoppage of the vehicle in the middle of the road, which could have resulted in accidents. The District Commission also highlighted the fact that the vehicle had been towed for inspection by Punjab Engineering College (Deemed to be University), Chandigarh, which resulted in an expert opinion confirming the presence of manufacturing defects. The District Commission found that the sudden stoppage of the vehicle and the need for an external inspection by experts strongly indicated manufacturing defects that were not promptly rectified.
Consequently, the District Commission ruled in favor of the complainant. It ordered the manufacturer and the dealer to refund the entire purchase price of Rs 61,61,000 to the complainant within 45 days of receiving a copy of the order. Additionally, the District Commission directed the manufacturer and the dealer to pay a compensation amount of Rs 50,000 to the complainant for causing her immense mental agony and an additional sum of Rs 15,000 to cover her legal expenses.
Case: Mrs. Inderjeet Kaur vs FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) India Automobiles Pvt. Ltd.
Case No.: CC/398/2020
Advocate for the Appellant: Rohit Rana & Vipul Sharma
Advocate for the Respondent: Sh.Naveen Sharma, Counsel of OP No., Sh.Jagvir Sharma, Counsel of OP No.2 and Sh.Harsh Nagra, Counsel of OP No.3
Click Here To Read/Download Order