Chandigarh resident gets ₹3.5 lakh compensation for defective car engine

Observing that it is shocking when the engine of a brand new car turns defective within eight months, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh, has directed Hyundai Motors, its dealer and an insurer to pay 3.58 lakh as compensation to a Chandigarh-based customer.

The customer, Shyam Sunder Sharma, a resident of Sector 23-B, had submitted before the commission that he had bought a Hyundai Creta car from Berkeley Hyundai, Panchkula, in January 2019. But the car stopped twice due to a short fuse and choked silencer in August and September 2019. Then again, there was a fault in the engine assembly and half of the assembly had to be replaced, which was not covered under insurance.

When Sharma approached the insurance company, Future Generali India Insurance Company Limited, Chandigarh, regarding updates in the engine number, chassis number etc., they failed to make the corrections, forcing him to move the consumer commission against the insurer, car manufacturer and dealer.

In their response, Hyundai Motors stated that the hydrostatic shock in the engine occurred due to the complainant’s negligence. Also, had there been any manufacturing defect, the vehicle would not have covered such an extensive mileage.

Berkeley Hyundai stated that they were only a sales and service agency. They argued that the car engine was opened with Sharma’s consent and then necessary replacement of parts was done. The insurance company also denied all allegations.

But the commission stated, “The change of engine of the newly purchased vehicle within a short span of eight months proves manufacturing defect in the vehicle. Sharma has spent a handsome amount to buy the car for his family members’ happiness and he also believed in the popular brand Hyundai that boasts of having high-quality vehicles and as such the question of the subject vehicle suffering from manufacturing defect does not arise at all.”

“The defect in engine after covering only 3,281 km is totally contrary to the reputation of the car company, and their claims about unmatched quality and performance. It is not less than a shock and the joy of owning a car is totally destroyed….The entire situation has cropped up owing to the supply of a vehicle having inherent defect, rendering deficient service and adopting unfair trade practice,” the commission observed.

Further, the company’s claim that the engine became defective because of carelessness and negligent driving of the complainant was like adding insult to injury and amounted to shunning responsibility, it said, directing the car manufacturer and seller to jointly and severally pay 3 lakh as compensation for causing harassment and mental agony, apart from 33,000 as litigation expenses.

The insurance company was also directed to pay 25,000 as compensation for delay in effecting necessary changes in the insurance documents after the replacement of the car’s engine assembly, causing inconvenience, harassment and tension to the complainant.