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Recurring Defect In Car; Tamil Nadu State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Directs Refund Of Rs-60,08,000/ The Price Of Audi Q 7

Parvathy Roy
3 Feb 2023 2:45 PM GMT
Recurring Defect In Car; Tamil Nadu State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Directs Refund Of Rs-60,08,000/ The Price Of Audi Q 7

The Tamil Nadu State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Bench comprising Justice R. Subbia, President and Mr. R. Venkatesaperumal , Member has allowed a consumer complaint against the car dealer, service provider, manufacturer for defect in the brake-mechanism of his car. The complainant had prayed to the Commission to direct car manufacturer ‘Audi’ to replace the defective vehicle and also to pay him a sum of 30 lakhs/- INR as compensation for trauma, mental agony, etc.

The complainant purchased an Audi Q 7 from the Opposite Parties in the name of his partnership firm. It was stated that the manufacturer of the car had claimed unique braking system along with other numerous safety features in their brochure. In November 2013, the car was serviced at Opposite Party’s (OP) workshop for “Brake-Pad Warning Glowing” and they claimed that they had changed the front and rear brake pads and discs. It was further stated that the next servicing was only due in October 2014, but the brake issue developed again much prior to the service due date. Another service was done on 5th July 2014 for the same and the costs for both the services totaled up to 3.66 lakhs/- INR.

According to the complainant, on 20th July 2014, due to a defect in the brake-mechanism, the car suffered a brake failure which severely endangered the lives of the passengers, and it was with great difficulty that the driver could bring the car to a halt. The complainants also referred to a news report which stated that Audi was recalling over 70,000 cars which were also of the same model over Braking System Problem. They also brought forth a piece of automobile literature which talked about the longevity of the brake pads, and the distance covered by this car was lesser than the minimum average.

The opposite parties denied the allegations. It was contented that the transaction between the parties was on commercial basis as the partnership firm does not fall under the category of a consumer and hence, the consumer complaint cannot be maintained. The allegation made by the complainant that there was a report of Brake Failure in the Job Card of the OPs was incorrect. The company denied the allegations that the car was not in a road worthy condition and stated that the latter party did not show up to take the delivery of the car after several intimations. The OPs also made a contention that the vehicle was purchased almost 5 years prior to the alleged incident, which throws light on its road worthiness, and stated that this complaint was filed with mala fide intention to get the old vehicle replaced by a new one.

The Manufacturer Audi contended that the Commission did not have territorial jurisdiction to hear the case. It was stated that after the delivery of the car to the dealers, the responsibility to deliver the car shifted to the latter. The warranty given by manufactures is limited to the extent of quality and potency of the vehicle supplied and not any other aspect. Complaint was resisted by saying that there was no point in dragging in the manufacturers to the issue four years after the sale had taken place.

The state commission held that the manufacturer is situated at Mumbai, by virtue of Section 17(2) of the Consumer Protection Act, they cannot veil themselves from being arrayed as a party to the proceedings as they conduct their business through the dealers appointed by them in respective states.

The commission relied on the apex Court judgment in Lilavati Kirtilal Mehta Medical Trust v. Unique Shanti Developers, which stated that “ the question of whether the transaction is for a commercial purpose should be answered by determining whether the dominant intention/ purpose for the transaction was to facilitate some kind of profit generation for the purchaser”. The commission dismissed the allegation that the transaction between the parties was commercial in nature and stated that there seemed to be no relation between the purchase of a high-end car and the income-generating textile business of the firm.

The bench held that according to the documents presented by both the parties, it is apparent that there was in fact, a brake failure. Since there were several instances of the Q7 edition of the car being recalled due to failure of the brake-mechanism, Opposite parties could have directly taken up the issue for a proper solution. The bench stated that all the OPs collectively exhibited a clear conduct of service deficiency and negligence as even after the vehicle was brought in a flatbed truck after the incident, they still did not recall the vehicle. The manufacturer is to be held liable as the problem kept on recurring even after two replacements and this can only be reflective of a manufacturing defect. The commission allowed the complaint and directed OP No. 2 to refund 60,08,000/- instead of replacement of the car as it is said to be a defective model. Compensation was not awarded as the car was utilized by the complainant for a considerable amount of time.

Saravana Stores Tex v. Audi-Chennai & Ors. (C.C. No. 171 of 2014)

Counsel for the Complainant: Sanjay Pinto

Counsel for the Opposite Parties: Ramanathan & K. RaviKumar

ClickHere To Read/Download Order

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