A resident of Sector 21 Chandigarh, Ankit Mahajan, escaped from a major tragedy when his power bank kept in his Audi A4 exploded. Fortunately, he was not in the car at that time. The Consumer Forum of Chandigarh has directed the manufacturer, dealer and the sales website to pay Rs 1.35 lakh to Mahajan.
According to the complaint, Mahajan purchased an Ambrane P-2000 20800 MAH Power Bank, manufactured by Ambrane India Pvt Ltd through snapdeal.com for Rs 1,699. However, after using the product for four to five days, he found a defect in one of the USB charging ports of the product and so he ordered for the same to be returned via the website, but the representative of the site refused to comply.
On August 16, 2016, when Mahajan went to the office in his car, he put the power bank on the backseat of the car. But, when he returned after two to three hours, the complainant was shocked to find smoke and black fumes coming out of his car. The complainant opened the doors to find the back seat on fire. He quickly doused the flames by throwing water on it. Due to the fire, the rear seats of the car had melted and the entire car was full of black fumes and ash had covered the entire interior.
Mahajan reported the matter to the manufacturing firm and the website but they did not pay any heed. Mahajan stated that the total cost of the repair was Rs 4.92 lakh and the insurance company assessed the loss at Rs 4.74 lakh leaving the difference of Rs 18,340 to be borne by the complainant. He then moved the Consumer Forum against Ambrane India and snapdeal.com.
Ambrane India and B J Infotech in reply stated that the complainant left his power bank in the car in the afternoon and as per the warning given in the user manual, the complainant shouldn’t have exposed the power bank to excessive heat and moisture. Yet, it was kept exposed to the sun in the afternoon in the month of August when the sun and the moisture were at their peak and due to which, the power bank did not act in a normal manner. The complainant had used the power bank negligently and failed to take precautions while using the device.
In its reply, snapdeal.com said its website was neither the seller nor manufacturer of the concerned product and therefore, any question of deficiency in service or unfair trade practice did not arise on its part.
After hearing the arguments, the Forum observed that the Ambrane power bank, lying unplugged and unused in the car, exploded only because of its internal manufacturing defect, causing immense damage to the vehicle of the complainant.
The Forum stated that the power bank had a manufacturing defect and was of sub-standard quality. Though projected to be of high standard, features regarding its performance as well as those projected by the manufacturer on its website were false and misleading.
“…Fortunately, at the time of loss, no person was sitting in the car. Had this happened during the movement of the vehicle or any person sitting in the vehicle, then this incident could have caused untoward loss of human life also….”, read the Forum judgment.
Thus finding deficiency in service, the Forum directed Ambrane India, snapdeal.com and B J Infotech to pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh, along with a litigation cost of Rs 15,000, refund the price of the device i.e. Rs 1,699 and also pay the difference of amount of repair of the car i.e. Rs 18,430 to the complainant. The judgment was brought to public domain on August 7.