Consumer Court says handling charges are illegal – Orders Maruti dealer to pay Rs 1 lakh fine

A Maruti Suzuki dealer in Chennai argued that the additional amount was towards handling and repair charges.

A Maruti Suzuki dealer charged extra registration fee when C Durgadevi of Hasthinapuram, Chennai purchased a Maruti Suzuki DZire Tour on February 11, 2015. The dealer, Popular Vehicles and Services in Pallikarani accepted a booking amount of INR 10,000 and the buyer was given an estimate of INR 7,20,244 as total cost of the DZire Tour.

This included ex-showroom value of INR 6, 13,943, insurance price INR 25,873 and road tax and registration charges of INR 80, 428. An amount of INR 2,77,500 was paid by the customer on 18th February 2015 and the balance was paid through an automobile loan. Besides this amount, the dealer also demanded an amount of INR 1,500 from Durgadevi towards affidavit charges for registration.

After taking delivery of the vehicle on 25th February 2015, Durgadevi received her first registration certificate wherein it was mentioned that INR 61,796 was charged against registration charges while the dealer actually charged her INR 80,428. Further inquiries with the dealer for this discrepancy in registrations charges revealed that the extra amount was paid towards handling and repair charges.

Not satisfied with these explanations, Durgadevi approached the North Chennai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum headed by K Jayabalan, president, and M Uyirroli Kannan, Member. The court ruled that this extra amount charged amounts to unfair trade practice and has now directed the city based Maruti Suzuki dealer to pay an amount of INR 1 lakh as compensation to Durgadevi for mental agony suffered on account of the extra fees charged.

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This is not a one-off case. Almost every car dealer in India is charging handling charges. This amount ranges from Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000, depending on the car value. This goes on in spite of the fact that even Government of India had sent circular to car dealers in 2012 to stop charging handling charges. Sadly, there was no follow up and dealers continue to charge these to customers.

If you too are charged wrongfully, and don’t know what to do, below is a short video on how to file a complaint in the consumer court.