Balbir Singh, the 70 yr old owner of a new Maruti Suzuki car and a resident of Delhi was surprised when his car stopped working in the middle of the road after he drove through a waterlogged area. After failing to start the car, he decided to call for road side assistance and two the car to the dealership.
After a day, he received a call form the dealership, which told him that his new car will require repairs which are not covered under warranty. Estimated cost will be INR 80,000. Balbir was shocked. He questioned why such a huge cost and that too for a new car. The dealer said that it happened because of him driving negligently through water logged area. This perplexed him even more. He decided to file a case in the consumer court.
He moved Consumer Court seeking due compensation in this matter which was ruled in his favor after two years of fighting. Maruti Suzuki has been instructed to pay him compensation of INR 50,000 for harassment and INR 10,000 as litigation cost.
The court was of the opinion that in India, where floods and waterlogging is a common phenomenon, hydrolocks should be covered under warranty. This part gets affected when the vehicle is driven through deep waters causing water to enter the engine via the air intake duct. This causes damage to the cylinder and engine causing the vehicle to stall. The court argued that in the event of a sudden flood is the driver supposed to abandon the vehicle and swim through the water? The Court also stated that it was the duty of the automaker to ensure that safety devices were present in the vehicle and is liable to undertake repairs of the vehicle when under warranty period.
The court also noted that the manufacturer had never warned Balbir about consequences of driving his car through water. As per the court, if they do not want to offer warranty, they should give it in writing to their customers that do not drive cars where there is water. But this was not done by Maruti.
The case filed with district consumer court through advocate Dolly Sharma and the two year long fight finally yielded results. The consumer court did not find the manufacturer’s argument logical and hence the automaker has been directed by the court to pay the owner INR 60,000 which included INR 50,000 towards harassment and mental agony along with INR 10,000 towards litigation charges.
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