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Resolve disputes conclusively,says consumer panel

Advocating the settlement of consumer disputes once and for all,the Delhi State Consumer Commission,in a recent order,directed Sony India Pvt Ltd to pay a sum of around Rs 1.2 lakh to a private entrepreneur...

Written by Ayesha Arvind | New Delhi |
March 15, 2009 1:38:44 am

Advocating the settlement of consumer disputes once and for all,the Delhi State Consumer Commission,in a recent order,directed Sony India Pvt Ltd to pay a sum of around Rs 1.2 lakh to a private entrepreneur towards the cost of a faulty computer and compensation. The district consumer forum had earlier directed Sony to take the computer for repairs.

Modifying the district forum’s order,the commission president,Justice J D Kapoor,held that all judicial orders must aim at resolving the disputes conclusively “not leaving chances for another bout of litigation”. The order came after Dr Lalit Agarwal,deputy general manager with a private company,approached the state commission seeking a revision of the previous order. Agarwal had purchased a Sony laptop worth Rs 98,000 in April 2005. Within a few weeks,however,he observed some abnormal display on the LCD screen.

According to the complaint,a colour patch and a hairline soon appeared on the screen. Agarwal informed Sony and sent the laptop for examination. The company,however,returned the computer stating that although it was in the warranty period,it could not be repaired without payment as it was a “physically damaged set”. It informed Agarwal that he would have to pay Rs 40,000 to get it repaired.

When Agarwal contended the laptop be repaired without any charges or be replaced as it was not his fault,Sony argued that the damage appeared to have been caused by “some negligence” on his part. Sony submitted that the laptop in question was supplied in a sealed and original packing in a good condition. The company also told the commission during examination by experts it was found that the laptop “was physically damaged due to being dropped by someone” and since any physical damage was not covered under the warranty,it could not be repaired without charge.

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Agarwal argued that there was no sign of physical damage or breakage like scratch marks on the laptop and,hence,it was likely the defect in was inbuilt.

Upholding the latter’s contention,Justice Kapoor concluded the damage appeared to have been caused by inbuilt and technical problems. “It’s a misconceived notion that a replacement can’t be sought for defective goods unless they suffer from manufacturing defects. If goods need to be taken time and again for repairs,it reflects either the poor quality of goods or an evident defect,” he said.

“We direct Sony to refund the cost of the laptop or replace it,” Kapoor said. The panel also directed Sony to pay a sum of Rs 20,000 as compensation.

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