Mercedes makers, dealer asked to compensate for misleading consumer

March 2nd, 2009 - 1:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 2 (IANS) Daimler Chrysler, makers of luxury car Mercedez Benz, and one of its dealers here have been asked to pay Rs.500,000 by a consumer court for misleading a customer by selling a limited edition of a car under the garb of it being the latest model.

“It is apparent and crystal clear that the complainant had been sold by way of misrepresentation (of) a limited edition, which was never launched in the market,” the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission headed by Justice J.D. Kapoor ruled in a recent order.

Terming the acts of the carmaker and its dealer, TNT Motors Ltd, as “the grossest kind of deficiency in service and an unfair trade practice”, the Commission held them equally responsible for misrepresenting the consumer and ordered the company to refund the cost of vehicle on its return.

Intercard (I) Ltd, another car dealer that had bought the car in 2003 for personal use, approached the Commission and urged it to direct the auto major and its dealer to return the whole amount taken against the purchase of the car or exchange it with the latest version, besides demanding Rs.200,000 as compensation.

The consumer had gone to the dealer in February 2003 to purchase the C-180 model of Mercedez Benz, a regular edition, but the complainant was supplied with C-180K version, a limited edition, by stating that it was latest model and launched recently in the market.

The Commission was not impressed with the contention that the car had already been used for over 50,000 km by the consumer.

“It is immaterial whether the complainant has run the car for 50,000-60,000 km as what is material for us is that such gross misrepresentation was made by the manufacturer and the dealer and that the customer suffered huge financial loss, mental agony, harassment and lost mental peace,” the Commission said last week.

It also asked the dealer and manufacturer to pay Rs.20,000 as the cost of litigation.

The court also dismissed the plea of the car company that the complainant was not a consumer and said: “At the outset, to say that the complainant is not a consumer is highly fallacious argument as there is a distinction between commercial activity and commercial purpose. Had the complainant purchased the vehicle for further sale to earn profit only then it could have come within the ambit of commercial purpose.

“He had purchased only one vehicle for his use and merely because it was engaged in some commercial activities does not mean that it was used for commercial purpose.”

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