Mumbai: Consumer court upholds right to toast
In a major victory for a consumer who was unable to eat toasts owing to a faulty toaster he purchased two years ago, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (Central Mumbai) ruled in his favour.
In an order dated May 18, Judge BS Wasekar directed the defendants to refund Rajan Alimchandani the original cost of the toaster (Rs 1,200) with interest and an additional Rs 10,000 for causing mental agony and covering the court expenses.
In his complaint, filed last May, Worli resident Alimchandani stated that he purchased a Bajaj Electricals toaster (with a two-year warranty) from New Prakash Bhandi Stores on May 7, 2014. However, the gadget developed a glitch on April 23, 2015, following which he contacted the store requesting a repair job. Alimchandani claimed that it was after repeated reminders that a technician visited his residence six days later. Inspection revealed that the defunct heating coil needed replacement. However, despite assurances, nothing happened. It was here that Alimchandani issued a notice to the store and the manufacturing company via his advocate on May 3, 2015. He later approached the consumer court seeking a full refund for the toaster and a compensation of Rs 25,000 for mental agony he underwent after the toaster failed to serve its purpose.
The other side
While the utensil store in its reply acknowledged the purchase, it claimed that it was the manufacturer’s responsibility to provide after sales service. In its response to the court, Bajaj Electricals claimed that a technician visited Alimchandani’s residence on April 29, 2015 and resolved the issue. However, the consumer lodged a new complaint the next day. On his second visit (May 4, 2015), the technician discovered that a wire had come off and despite fixing the problem Alimchandani demanded a replacement. Requesting the court to quash the case, the manufacturer in its defence claimed that Alimchandani refused to handover the ‘defunct’ toaster despite receiving a fresh piece.
Refusing to buy their claims, the court observed, “It was the duty of the opponents (New Prakash Bhandi Stores and Bajaj Electricals) to see that the toaster was properly working during the warranty period. If it was not properly working even after replacement, then it cannot be accepted that the opponents have complied with their liability. Thus, the evidence on record is sufficient to hold that there was manufacturing defect in the toaster and the complainant was deprived from its use.”