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'Not mentioning warranty information in bill or packaging amounts to deficiency in service'

Thursday, May 16, 2019
By Bhavna Uchil

While not ordering to refund the cost of a faulty mobile handset to a consumer, a Consumer Forum has recently declared that the seller and manufacturer not mentioning warranty-related information either on the invoice or in the product packaging, amounts to deficiency in service on their part.

'..Since opposite party no. 1 (Reliance Digital) and opposite party no. 2 (Samsung Electronics India) have not mentioned information related to mobile phone's warranty in the bill or the packaging box, consumers do not get information regarding it and remain ignorant about it,' stated the Forum in its judgment. It declared further that this falls in the purview of deficiency in service and unfair trade practice.

A Worli resident had approached the Mumbai Suburban Additional District Consumer Forum in 2017 against Reliance Digital Retail Ltd, Chembur – from where he had purchased the mobile, Samsung Electronics India, New Delhi – the mobile manufacturer and its two service centres - in Dadar and Sion.

As per his complaint, after he purchased a Samsung mobile costing Rs. 20,900, he started experiencing issues related to its charging after 13 days of the purchase. The mobile was then within the warranty period. He alerted Reliance Digital store from where he had purchased it and they sent him to one of their service centres with their representative.

The complaint further states that the centre was not able to resolve the issue but it also did not agree to keep the mobile with them to find the problem. The complainant informed the showroom and after the it contacted the manufacturing company, they sent him to another service centre. This service centre, the complaint states, said there was a fault in the phone's mother board and that the part would have to be replaced. The complainant refused to have the part changed as it was a new mobile. He demanded instead a new replacement mobile from the showroom. But the service centre went ahead and replaced the mother board without charging him, as the mobile was under warranty period and asked the complainant to collect it, but he would not. He approached the Consumer Forum instead.

During the hearing at the Forum, the complainant demanded that since the mobile had a maufacturing defect, he be refunded the cost of the mobile with interest. He also demanded compensation and costs of Rs. 75,000. On its part, Reliance Digital stated at the Forum that it has only sold manufactured mobile and has no responsibility of warranty and issues with mobile after its sale and that it is the responsibility of the manufacturer.

The Forum did not pass any order against the service centres as they had made part replacement without charge as the product was under warranty and did not replace the mobile as that was not the policy. It has ordered that the showroom and the mobile company to give one-year warranty to the repaired mobile from the date the consumer takes possession of it. It also ordered them to pay a total compensation and costs of Rs. 8,000 – of that, Rs. 3,000 for mental and physical agony, Rs. 2,000 for litigation costs and Rs. 3,000 for inconvenience and costs caused when the mobile was not working.

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