Court asks Tata Motors, its dealer to pay compensation

Court asks Tata Motors, its dealer to pay compensation

Automobile major Tata Motors Ltd and a Chhattisgarh-based dealer of the company have been directed by the apex consumer commission to pay over Rs 41,000 to a customer for refusing to repair a vehicle which was under warranty.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) said that as per practice, the dealer repairs the vehicle under warranty but the manufacturer was also "equally responsible" for it.

The NCDRC, while modifying the state commission's order which had exonerated Tata Motors from paying any compensation, asked the manufacturer and its dealer to pay Rs 41,568 jointly and severally to Chhattisgarh-resident Neeraj Tiwari within a month.

"I agree with the point raised by the petitioners (dealer) that the warranty has been issued by the Tata Motors and they are responsible for allowing repairs under the warranty," NCDRC's presiding member Prem Narain said in his order.

Tiwari had purchased a truck from an authorised dealer of Tata Motors.

Though the vehicle was under warranty, the dealer refused to repair certain defects that had occurred in the truck following which Tiwari had approached the district consumer disputes redressal forum.

After the district forum dismissed his complaint, he had moved the state commission which had allowed the appeal and had asked only the dealer to pay the compensation.

The state commission had further said since there was no manufacturing defect in the vehicle, there was no deficiency on the part of the manufacturer.

The dealer had then approached the apex consumer commission contending that if there was any responsibility for repairing under the warranty, it will be on the manufacturer and they should be liable to bear its expenses.

Tata Motors had contended before the apex commission that due to negligence of the customer in maintaining the vehicle properly, the warranty already stood revoked.

It had said that when there was no manufacturing defect, the manufacturer is not responsible for repair under warranty.

To this, the apex commission said that the state commission had "erred" in totally exonerating Tata Motors of its liability under warranty.

"Clearly, the dismissal of the complaint against the manufacturer is justified only to the extent that the State Commission has not found any manufacturing defect in the vehicle. However, so far as the warranty is concerned, Tata Motors is equally responsible as the petitioner (dealer)," it said.

The commission added that in practice, it is the dealer who repairs the vehicle under the warranty and then settles claim with the manufacturer under terms of their agreement.

"In this case, the petitioners (dealer and manufacturer) refused to repair the vehicle under the warranty and therefore, they are equally liable for dishonouring the warranty," it said. 

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