The customer is entitled to refund of 75 percent of cost of vehicle along with interest from date of complaint
In 2012, Dhanesh Mothe, a resident of Dahanu purchased Skoda Rapid (MH 48 A 4006) from JMD Auto Pvt. Ltd, a Skoda Auto Dealership. The cost of the car was Rs.8 lakhs and what should have brought joy to the owner, soon turned to nothing but regular visits to the dealership for repairs over the past several years but which still failed to resolve the issue.
Mothe faced constraints with the Skoda Rapid right from the outset. There were problems with brake failure, problems with suspensions and power windows, etc. Despite these difficulties, the company failed to address the problem, though the car was still under warranty, leaving the owner with no other recourse than to approach the Consumer Court.
Posting Issue On Social Media
Before going to the court, Dhanesh also reported the issue multiple times to Skoda, via their social media channels. In one of the post created by Dhone back in October 2013, he says; ”
1. The problem with the brakes was first notified to Skoda India in Feb 2012 within week of taking delivery of vehicle and the vehicle was even taken to service station to look in the problem, the vehicle was kept at service station for entire day and delivery in the evening by damaging by vehicle and without looking into problem.
2. Subsequently in july 2012 the brakes failed and the vehicle had to be towed to service station, the vehicle was repaired by just changing brake pad and brake disc instead of looking into the root cause of problem due to which vehicles brakes failed
3. Since Skoda India failed to look into root cause of the problem with the brake, the brakes failed again an vehicle had to towed to service station on april 2013. Again the problem of brakes were repaired by just replacing brake pad and brake disc, instead of looking into the root causes of brakes failing.
4. The vehicle was again towed to service station on 4th week of sept regarding the problems with the gear box and also problem of brake was highlighted to service station, the vehicle was inspected, repaired and delivered by service station saying that gear box working ok, brakes cleaning done and working ok …. within 2 days i.e. while taking vehicle from mumbai to my home town dahanu the brakes failed i.e within 250km.”
He has posted his complaints on Skoda India Facebook Page, Skoda UK Facebook Page and also created a dedicated Facebook Group called My Fight Against Skoda India
In his FB group, he posted in 2014 – “my skoda rapid is now getting into habit of riding in top of two truck it will now be 6th time it is being towed to work shop….. 4 times for brake issue, once for gear box issue and now again for brake issue …. thank god skoda has designed road side assistance keeping in mind their cars reguirement”
Knocking the door of Consumer Court
After nothing helped, Dhanesh Mothe filed a complaint with the Thane District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission against the company Skoda Auto India Pvt. Ltd and its dealer JMD Auto Pvt. Ltd. The buyer had sought replacement of his defective vehicle, citing that the company failed to remove the defects despite several visits and offer the customer a defect free vehicle as per the terms and conditions of warranty.
After years of waiting, the Court, lead by Commission President S Z Pawar and member Poonam V Maharshi has held the car company accountable and the dealership guilty of deficiency in services and has asked them to pay the owner Rs.6 lakhs as damages. This figure was arrived at on the basis of 75 percent cost of the vehicle which is Rs.6,10,078 along with 9 percent interest from the date of filing the complaint besides Rs.10,000 towards cost of complaint. This was in view of the fact that the complainant had used to vehicle for over 60,000 kms and hence a full refund or replacement was not permitted.