Decided on July 28,2014

Lagger Industries Ltd. Appellant
Daimler Chrysler India Pvt. Ltd. Respondents


Gurcharan Singh Saran, Presiding Member (J) - (1.) THE complainant has filed the present complaint under Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (in short 'CP Act') against opposite parties on the allegations that the complainant purchased one Mercedes Benz E280 CDI relying upon the brand name by spending Rs. 44 lac in the month of November, 2006. However, within a span of six months, the complainant noted that the head lights of the car had faded when it had covered just 2500 kms. Above car had run 7000 kms. when it started giving the problem in the horn. The problem was brought to the notice of OP No. 2 Service Station of OP No. 1, who ignored by saying that the lights have no problem and that the horns were not supposed to be blown for more than a second otherwise it will get spoiled. When the car had 10000 kms. it developed problem in steering wheel which emitted strange noises. The car was retained by OP No. 2 for a week although some parts were replaced but not to the satisfaction of the complainant as the many problems still remained unsolved. Then the complainant met the executive of the OP Mr. Michael Helfrich, who had come from Pune. He brought to the notice of the representative that it was due to low quality of spare parts used in the car, who replied that the car is not meant for Indian roads. In case the cars are not road worthy in India then why the Company is selling their cars in India then OP No. 1 sent a letter admitting of the facts and also apologized for the statement given by representative of the Company and it was also submitted that head lights of the car were replaced along with steering rack and steering angle sensor and other parts. However, the car started giving other problems, with regard to suspension, brakes, etc. by emitting strange noises. Therefore, OP No. 2 could not give service to the car to the satisfaction of the complainant. The problems being faced by the complainant were not on account of wear and tear but was due to defective and inferior quality of the spare parts being used in the car. Even during the warranty period, the complainant has to pay for main repairs for no fault. The complainant has to visit the Service Station number of times even after spending huge amount of Rs. 44 lacs. In fact the car has inherent defect, which requires replacement or refund of Rs. 44 lacs along with compensation and litigation expenses. The complaint was contested by the OPs. OP No. 1, who in its written reply stated that OP No. 2 is their authorised dealer in Chandigarh. Otherwise they are independent entities and their relationship is on principal to principal basis. Preliminary objections have been taken that the complainant does not fall within the definition of the consumer; the car is property of the company. In case car has been purchased for commercial purposes then the complainant does not come within the definition of the 'consumer'; the complainant is trying to foist a speculative and vexatious claim, therefore, the complaint is liable to be dismissed with special costs. On merits, it was admitted that the car was purchased by the complainant from OP No. 2. The car did not have any manufacturing defect and concerns of the complainant are due to operational reasons alone. Certain minor replacements were due to normal wear and tear and driver of the vehicle was fully satisfied when he took the delivery of the vehicle after repairs and vehicle had covered 22661 kms. as on 23.10.2007 in less than a year. It was denied that the car was sold to the complainant by way of misrepresentation. However, with a view to walk and extra mile, OP had taken steps to replace headlights as a special case and at no cost to the complainant except in the labour charges as per terms and conditions of the warranty. On examination of steering wheel and handle, it revealed no problem. The complainant instead of appreciating the goodwill of the Company has resorted to litigation to harass them. With regard to steering rack assembly, it was an insolated case and was replaced free of charge under warranty. The accidental repairs were not duly covered under the warranty. The warranty clause excludes as under: "Warranty excludes: (a) Normal maintenance, adjustments and wear and tear of parts. (b) Damages due to any of the clauses listed below - - (i) Misuse, improper operation/storage/transportation and maintenance/repairs not in accordance with DC India specifications. (ii) Accidents and general damages caused by external forces. (iii) Use of non -original Daimler Chrysler India Spare Parts. (iv) Exceeding permissible axle loads/overloading. (v) Use of adulterated/improper service products such as fuel, oil, brake fluids, coolants, washing and polishing products and the like. (vi) Modification in output and type. (vii) Glass damage (like breakage and scratches) due to external forces or improper use of windscreen wiper. (c) Warranty will cease to operate in case of accidents.
(2.) THE vehicle has been extensively used and as on 21.12.2008, it has covered 51354 Kms. In case, a plea has been taken by the complainant that the vehicle was defective, he will have to establish the same under Section 13 of the Act. The complaint is without merit and it be dismissed. Op No. 2 in its reply have taken the preliminary objection that the complainant is registered company and being a commercial organisation was using the car for its business purposes, therefore, the complainant was not come within the definition of 'consumer' as defined under Section 2(1)(d)(ii) of the Act and that the complicated questions of law and facts are involved, therefore, the matter be relegated to the Civil Court. On merits, it has been admitted that the complainant had purchased one Mercedes Benz on 17.11.2006 with warranty of 24 months. It was denied that the standards are not being followed in India. The car was brought in the Service Station of Op No. 1 for the first time with the mileage of 10357 kms. on 23.4.2007. Service was done by Op No. 2 and at the time it was pointed out that the car had minor noise from the steering wheel. The same was immediately attended by the expert Engineers of Op No. 2 and it was informed that the defect in steering rack assembly, which was needed to be replaced as the car of the complainant was within warranty and the same was replaced by Op No. 2 without any charges. The car was retained in the service station with the proper permission of the complainant. The parts were demanded and replaced. The lights along with a steering rack and steering angle sensor were replaced on the asking of Op No. 1 and after that the complainant give the car to check up and he was satisfied with the service. It has also been admitted that there was problem with the horn pad and the same was rescued. Ultimately, it was stated that the defects were on account of normal wear and tear by operational use of the car. No manufacturing defect, there fore, the complaint is without merit and the same be dismissed.
(3.) THE parties were allowed to lead their evidence.;

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