It was on 22nd Aug 2009 that Mr Vijeth M had purchased a brand new Maruti Alto LX. The car was purchased from Mandovi Motors in Sullia, Karnataka in the name of his father – Mr. M.Rajendra Prasad. Within a few days, Mr Vijeth started noticing problems with the car. He made multiple visits to the workshop, but the problems never ended.
On 24th September 2009, he wrote a detailed letter to Maruti Suzuki about his experience, which can be read below.
I have purchased a Maruti Alto LX from Mandovi Motors on 22-08-09,which is registered in my father’s name Mr.M.Rajendra Prasad. The vehicle registration number is KA-21 M 7409.
Colour: Pearl Blue
I had taken the delivery from Mandovi Motors,Sullia.D.K.,which is my native place whereas presently I am residing at Bangalore. The day I bought the car was considered to be auspicious as it was the inauguration day of Mandovi’s new workshop/showroom as well as a festival day. But unfortunately it has turned out be a nightmare for me. From day one I am experiencing problems with the car.The following are the series of events post delivery in chronological order –
1. From day one I was not comfortable with the vehicle but couldn’t figure out the exact problem as I didn’t drive much on that day say about only 17 kms,though the car had run 89 kms prior to delivery.(Because the car was driven to Sullia from Mangalore by the Mandovi personnel)
2. Day two(23-08-09) I headed from my native to Bangalore. During the journey I discovered that the vehicle was juddering as it reached 70 kmph speed on VERY good roads. But it wasn’t so predominant at speeds below that mark or even when it crossed that mark. But the juddering again reoccurred at around speeds of 95 kmph,beyond which I did not venture as the car was just a day old. The 300 kms journey from my native to Bangalore was nothing but HORRIFIC.My initial thought was that the problem was with the wheel balancing. The day being Sunday I couldn’t contact Mandovi guys that day.
3. Day three(24-08-09) I conveyed the message to Mandovi Motors,sullia. I was asked to get the vehicle inspected at the nearest Mandovi service centre at Bangalore.As I have busy with my job & I was able to take my vehicle to Mandovi service centre,Yashwantpur two days later i.e., on 26-08-09.The service personnel took a test drive a confirmed the problem. To my surprise they altered the engine timing & spark plug gap. But they were unable to further check the vehicle at that speed within the city as it was peak hour late in the evening. I was told to revert back if the problem reoccurred. On my way back to my house I discovered that the problem was still prevalent.
4.I informed them again and I was asked to visit again. They checked the tyres,rim bends, underbody damage so on & so forth. On my further visits they checked wheel balancing & alignment,carried out wheel rotation, but all efforts in vain. Still the problem continued & my visits to Mandovi service centre sort of became a routine thereby affecting my job. On 02-09-09,with a hope that the matter will be resolved I took a day off & checked into Mandovi again. They suspected the problem might be with the tyres, hence replaced them with newer ones. The problem seemed to have rectified. So one of the front tyres was replaced with the spare tyre & at that moment the problem seemed to have vanished. So I headed back to my place. But astonishingly again the problem resurfaced. I had returned back to Mandovi.I was told that they need to check the drive shaft & as it was not readily available, they retained the vehicle.
5. After two days of TRIAL RUN, it was concluded that the problem was with the Balancer shaft & not drive shafts. Aptly the shaft was replaced & the vehicle was delivered to my residence. By this time the vehicle had run around 550-600 kms in total out of which around 250 kms of TRIAL/TEST RUN within the city, for which the running expenses were borne from my side. By this time enormity problem was somewhat reduced but still..
6. It was baffling to notice that the next day problem was still prevalent. Again I informed the service centre & their familiar response –“Can you please bring the vehicle sir?or shall I ask my people to pick the vehicle”.I was really depressed.
7.As a knew a couple of higher officials at Mandovi Service Centre,J.P.Nagar,I decided to meet them & landed there on 09-09-09.In the mean time I had registered a complaint with your customer care dept,the complaint no is 9026004637.
They told me that they will check the vehicle thoroughly, so they need atleast 2 days,to which I agreed & I was given a vehicle from their end for my use. The days passed on, but the problem remained elusive. An engineer from maruti Mr.Rakesh had also inspected the vehicle. I was with constant touch with Mr.Rajesh Bhat,service personnel at Mandovi.After 3-4 days Mr.Rajesh told me that the problem was with the ENGINE FLYWHEEL & it needs to be changed. The following day I was informed that the problem was “almost” rectified,but there were vibrations/juddering felt beyond in speeds excess of 100 kmph but not at 70 kmph which Mr.Rajesh Bhat told is abnormal. I was also told that they have replaced even the “drive shafts (L & R) in addition to “flywheel” for purpose of checking, which I find quite bizarre.(As drive shafts were checked earlier)
8.Finally I was informed that the vehicle was alright & can be delivered on 19-09-09.During the period the vehicle had covered another 350-400 kms.Ist free service was also carried out as the vehicle had run more than 1000 kms.And “again” I had took a break from my job(I work 6 days a week) to take the delivery of the vehicle. I insisted for a trial run prior to delivery. And my worst fears came true. But this time there was small twist in the tale.
The Mandovi personnel was trying to CONVINCE me that the “slight” vibrations at 70 kmph & the “massive” juddering at speeds in excess of 100 kmph in normal in an alto as it a “light” car. And also it is more prevalent in an Alto LX as it is equipped it manual steering. What’s more puzzling was that he himself was telling me that beyond 80 kmph power steering has no power assistance!!
I am a BE(mech) graduate, I have been driving for last 13 years, I am very passionate about automobiles, I have taken your own Maruti 800 to its limits, but these things are really beyond my imagination.
But still I insisted him to get an Alto Lxi for the purpose of trial, which he promptly agreed but on one condition – “it is not possible today”. That means I have to lose one more day of my job, which I can ill-afford with the present “recessionary trend”.
9.I had no options left but to take delivery of the vehicle after “10 DAYS” of “testing”. But I told him that I will test drive other models of alto (which my friends own) to clear “HIS” doubts.
So on 20-09-09, I asked my friend to spare his Alto std for me. The drive only proved that the problem was only with “my” vehicle. I didn’t stop there. I went for a drive in an Alto Lxi & no surprises the result was the same. Both the altos were rock solid at 70 kmph & even at 125 kmph !!! Also please note that the former had run 18,000 kms (in 9 months) & by my friends admission the wheel balancing was not “100% “perfect!
The only reason to buy Maruti was your quality & customer service as we had a bad experience with FIAT PALIO 1.6 GTX which we presently own. The vehicle is a gem but the same cant be said of the service, although it has improved drastically after TATA has taken over. But I am afraid you have let me down. It is very unlike Maruti.What I have heard of Maruti is,vehicles are built to last. But I wonder with a new vehicle throwing up serious problems I fear to imagine the future. I request you look into the matter “seriously”. I am totally dissatisfied with the vehicle as I have lost my mental peace from day one & wont be long I may lose “my job” too caring this sick vehicle. Moreover since the day I have bought for almost half the period if not more, the vehicle was at the service centre. I am being deprived of using a new vehicle.
“PLEASE REPLACE THIS FAULTY VEHICLE WITH A NEW ONE”. If you are not convinced do let me know, I have to think of other ALTERNATIVES.
Tired of Maruti and its dealer failing to solve his car’s problems, Vijeth filed a complaint in a District Consumer Forum. On 30th Oct 2010, this Forum come to the judgement that the car is indeed faulty. They ordered Maruti and its dealer, Mandovi Motors to give Mr Rajendra (Vijeth’s father) the full amount of Rs 2.95 lakh which he had paid for the faulty car. Along with that, the forum also ordered Maruti to pay Rs 10,000 as litigation expenses to the complainant. Both Maruti and its dealer filed an appeal in the State Consumer Forum. On 2nd Nov 2011, the State Consumer Forum dismissed their appeal and upheld the order given by District Forum.
Unhappy with this, the matter then went to National Consumer Forum. More than 8 years later, since the car was purchased, the National Consumer Forum directed Maruti and its dealer to pay a sum of Rs 1.5 lakh as compensation to Mr Rajendra for selling him a faulty car along with Rs 11,000 as compensation against litigation charges.
After spending more than 8 years with the faulty Maruti Alto LX, and driving for more than 50,000 kms, Mr Vijeth has finally received the amount from the Maruti dealer.
“My fight was for justice and not against a particular dealership/branch/service centre or an individual.I only took delivery of the car from MANDOVI motors,SULLIA,other than that I had and have no issues with the dealership branch whatsoever.I regularly get my cars serviced at their service centre.In fact MANDOVI motors,SULLIA is probably the best service centre/dealership I have ever visited across all automobile brands.”
– Vijeth M.
Below are the scans of the order.
Hats off to Vijeth for not settling for a faulty car and continuing his fight.