National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, in the case of Mecedes Benz India Pvt. Ltd vs. Prince Bansal &Ors. directed Mercedes Benz to pay Rs. 2 lakh to its customer as compensation for defects in the Mercedes vehicle he had purchased from them. NCDRC did not interfere with the order of the State Commission which had passed directions on similar lines.
In the present case, the Complainant/aggrieved consumer had faced several problems with the doors, sunroof, cabin and the tyres of his Benz car within the first few days of the purchase. When the consumer reported this matter to Benz, they replaced some parts of the car. However, since the problem continued to persist, the consumer got the car inspected upon which it was discovered that the car had severe manufacturing defects.
Faced with persistent problems with the car, the complainant got the same inspected from Grace Automotives who gave an inspection report opining that there seemed to be an "inherent manufacturing defect" in the vehicle which the manufacturer was unable to locate and rectify. Being aggrieved, the complainant approached the Consumer by way of a consumer complaint seeking replacement of the car or in the alternative, refund of the amount he had paid for the purchase of the car alongwith compensation.
The State Commission vide its order dated 13.07.2018, requested the Principal/Director of Punjab Engineering College to constitute a team of experts to check the vehicle and submit a report. This was done considering the conflicting expert reports submitted by the parties to the State Commission. The expert Committee consisting of Prof. Sushant Samir, Prof. Gopal Dass and Prof. Ankit Yadav of Punjab Engineering College submitted a report. According to them, during test drive there was a creaking noise of small intensity emanating from the rear door of the vehicle in question.
Relying on the report of expert Committee, the State Commission, had directed the company to pay a sum of Rs.2 lacs as compensation to the complainant along with cost of litigation quantified at Rs.22,000.
NCDRC while dismissing the appeal of Mercedes Benz noted that the State Commission was fully justified in relying upon the expert report given by the three Professors of Punjab Engineering College which is a deemed University. They submitted a report not only after the vehicle had been inspected but had also been test driven by them. It was noticed that the problem in the vehicle still persisted and had not been removed. In these circumstances, the grant of compensation only for Rs.2 lacs cannot be said to be excessive or unreasonable by any standards considering that the vehicle in question was a Mercedes vehicle which was expected to run smoothly without giving much trouble to the owner he having spent as much as Rs.37 lacs for purchase of the vehicle, and it had been troubling the complainant right from the time it was purchased, developing one snag or the other.