In a judgment that has sparked debate in the automotive community, a district consumer forum in Hyderabad has directed Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. and its showroom Varun Motors to pay Rs 1 lakh as compensation to the complainant for their failure to replace a faulty horn.
The complainant, Mr K Sudharshan Reddy, had stated in his complaint that there were several problems with his car, including the faulty horn. He filed a complaint in consumer forum, after he failed to reach a resolution with the concerned parties.
Mr Sudharshan had said in his complaint that he purchased a Maruti Alto 800 from Varun Motors in July 2014. After around six months, he noticed several problems with the car such as crack on front windshield, broken lock on right rear door, noise from engine and faulty horn. He then went to the showroom, which asked him to visit the authorized service centre. However, instead of replacing the old horn, the service centre tried to repair the faulty piece.
The complaint further states that the next day, noise from engine was still there and horn was also malfunctioning. Due to the faulty horn, Sudharshan had to drive at a slow speed, which resulted in an accident.
He also claimed that the car was using more fuel, as he was forced to drive at a slow speed. His commute time from home to office and back also increased as a result. With the showroom unable to fix his car’s problems, Sudharshan decided to file a complaint with the consumer forum to get compensation.
On their part, representatives of Maruti countered that the original complaint filed by Mr Sudharshan was only for defective horn and not for non-working horn. As such, repair was the natural thing to do.
The problem was fixed on the same day, the company said. For the accident caused due to faulty horn, the company said that it was a false claim. Varun Motors said that there is no deficiency on their part and they are limited to providing services during the period of warranty.
However, the bench rejected the claims of Maruti Suzuki and Varun Motors saying that there’s always a risk of accident due to a faulty horn. The consumer forum said that this is especially true considering the fact that Hyderabad has heavy traffic. The bench rejected the false accident claim reasoning of Maruti Suzuki and Varun Motors and directed them to pay Rs 1 lakh to Mr Sudharshan as compensation.