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After 17-year wait, couple to get refund on car deposit

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in Delhi granted relief to the couple last week on Tuesday, by directing them to recover their money with 9 per cent interest from the date of booking onwards, along with Rs 5,000 as compensation for mental and physical harassment caused to them.

Mohammed Sayeed Dadarkar and Daisy Dadarkar had booked a PAL Peugeot 309 in October 1995 after depositing Rs 25,000 with Bombay Cycle and Motor Agency Ltd. By September 1997, the car had not yet been delivered and the Dadarkars decided to cancel their booking and reclaim their deposit with interest.

When they didn’t get their money, the Dadarkars sent a legal notice on May 26, 1999, but didn’t get any response. When the Dadarkars went after Pal Peugeot Ltd, it contended that their complaint was delayed. They added that it was the responsibility of Bombay Cycle and Motor Agency to refund the Rs 25,000, as they were the ones who had collected the amount.

Rejecting this stance, the District Consumer Forum directed the company to reimburse the amount with interest. The Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission dismissed appeals to this order by the company. The commission also added the company’s official liquidator as a party to the proceedings.

The question before the National Commission was whether the liability for refunding the booking amount rests with the manufacturer of the vehicle or the authorised dealer.

A bench comprising presiding member JM Malik and member Suresh Chandra in their order pronounced on July 24 said, “Taking into consideration the judgements of this Commission and the view taken by the Apex Court [we] hold that the liability to refund the deposited booking amount is that of the manufacturer alone.”

The Dadarkars can now approach either the official liquidator or the company itself, to claim their deposit. 

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