Mangalore: Companies told to refund cost of cellphones

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The Hindu

Problems in mobile handsets arose within warranty period

Refund in all three cases to be made by this month-end





MANGALORE: The Dakshina Kannada District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has come to the rescue of three persons who found their new mobile handsets to be defective.


Harsha Raj of Kodical Ashoknagar had purchased a Nokia handset for Rs. 16,509 from Mobile Planet, Kankanady. He had complained that the handset hung frequently and was getting switched off. Even after getting the problem attended to in August and September 2009, it persisted. His demand for replacement of the handset was turned down.

The forum, headed by Asha K. Shetty, found that the defects were noticed during the warranty period. It held that the product was neither up to the standard nor could it be repaired. It ordered refund of the cost by taking back the defective handset, and awarded compensation of Rs. 5,000 and litigation cost of Rs. 1,000.

In another case, it ordered Universal Telecommunications India Pvt. Ltd., M.G. Road, Ballalbagh, and the New Delhi-based Samsung Customer Service to pay M.P. Chandrahas of Kulai Rs. 1,900, and compensation of Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 1,000 litigation charges. In this handset, calls were getting disconnected even after the dealer had it repaired in Bangalore taking 37 days’ time. The problem had surfaced within six months of purchase in 2008.

Sowmya Bhat of S.V.S. Temple Road in Bantwal, who purchased a Samsug mobile handset for Rs. 3,450 from Pai International Electronics Ltd., Bunts Hostel Circle here in August 2009, had complained that the instrument suddenly became defunct within two months of purchase. The authorised service centre failed to repair it to her satisfaction even after more than two months. The forum has directed the New Delhi-based Samsung India Electronics Pvt. Ltd., and the local dealer to pay Rs. 3,450and Rs. 3,000 as compensation and Rs. 1,000 litigation charges.

The companies have to make the payment before this month-end.

Dealer’s role

The forum in these three cases held that manufacturing defects were generally borne by the manufacturer. But that would not mean that the dealer could be absolved from liabilities. “The manufacturer does not deal with the customer directly. The dealer, having received the payment, undertakes to (provide) free service and rectify defects during warranty (and) does not escape from liability towards manufacturing defects found in the handset.”

A case filed by Hema of Derebail Ashoknagar was closed by the forum as she had not the made the manufacturer of her mobile handset a party to the case. It has reserved her right to file a fresh complaint with necessary changes.


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