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Tata Motors ordered to pay Rs 3.5 L to customer over false mileage claim

The customer was lured into purchasing the Tata Indigo after the advertisement claimed mileage of 25 kmpl

Pradipta Kundu from Kolkatta purchased a Tata Indigo in 2011. He was motivated to purchase this model following a claim in an advertisement that pegged mileage at 25 kmpl. The advertisement released by the company stated that the Indigo was the country’s most fuel efficient car while the offer was for a limited period only.

Test drives on different dates revealed much lower mileage than claimed. Disappointed, Pradipta Kundu then approached the company to replace the car, which they refused. Kundu then had no other recourse but to move district forum against these false claims by the company.

Tata Indigo
Tata Indigo

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) found that the auto maker had resorted to deceptive trade practice by making false claims in the advertisement. It further directed Tata Motors to refund the cost of the vehicle which is Rs.4.8 lakhs and to pay compensation of Rs.2 lakhs to Kundu along with deposit of Rs.1.5 lakhs towards punitive damages with the state consumer welfare fund. However, Tata Motors later moved the state commission against the district forum’s order.

In India, fuel efficiency figures as claimed by automakers rarely live upto mileage under real driving conditions. This could be for various reasons. The elevated claims made by automakers are when the vehicle is tested under certain conditions and under specific parameters.

New Government regulations also make it compulsory that automakers should clearly indicate that fuel efficiency figures claimed could differ from actual fuel efficiency of the vehicle. This would lead to better transparency and the buyer is not misled into false claims, which in most cases, the company resorts to only to attract the buyers.

The first generation Tata Indigo was launched in 2002 and was based on the Indica with which it shared several parts. The Indigo however, had a larger wheelbase of the two and more refined interiors. 2006 saw the Indigo receive its first major update and in 2008, the Indigo ECS was launched.

It was in 2010 that Tata Motors brought in a design update to the Indigo with a new 1.4 liter CR4 turbocharged diesel engine offering 70 PS power and 140 Nm torque mated to a 5 speed manual transmission after which it was called the Indigo eCS. The engine complied with BS4 emission norms. In 2018, the company decided to discontinue production of the Indica and Indigo eCS models in India citing lower sales and increased demand for newer products such as the Tiago and Tigor.

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