Car pre-launch bookings might come under fire from government
Maruti Suzuki India Limited has just launched the much anticipated Ciaz, their new midsized sedan. Even before launch, the car maker said they had 10,000 bookings. This according to Consumer Protection Act, is an unfair trade practice, as it does not give the consumer his/her right to be informed about the product.
On receipt of several complaints, former Railways Minister and MP Dinesh Trivedi has filed a complaint while the Consumer Affairs Ministry is mulling taking legal action against Maruti Suzuki for indulging in unfair trade practice. Unfair because, even prior to the car being publicly displayed or its technical specifications revealed to buyers, how can a car maker collect money from buyers.
This action will not only have an impact on Maruti Suzuki, but on a whole host of automakers who also indulge in similar marketing strategies to stir up excitement and anticipation among buyers where an upcoming model is concerned. (Mahindra did the same with new Scorpio)
Manoj Parida, Joint Secretary at the Ministry has shot off a letter to Chairman and MD of Maruti Suzuki quoting the Consumer Protection Act. This act states that buyers should be informed on all aspects with regard to quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of any product purchased which was not the case where Ciaz was concerned.
The letter to the company states that with opening of pre-launch bookings of the Ciaz, buyers were unaware of such specifications. Maruti Suzuki on their part argue that booking was completely voluntary, while customers were also free to cancel bookings of the car with full refund of booking amount and hence it in no way bound buyers to the purchase if they found that the Ciaz did not live upto expectations.
As far as we are concerned, we do not think that this is an unfair practice. Buyers who are booking the car are doing it voluntarily, and are well informed about the product because of news about the product over the internet (spy shots, leaked brochures, etc). Also, the full booking amount is 100% refundable.
via Economic Times