Ernakulam consumer panel orders compensation after mobile phone develops problems within warranty period

The Ernakulam District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ordered payment of over ₹26,000 to a consumer towards refund of the price of a mobile phone and compensation after the phone with a one-year warranty started developing problems within a couple of months after purchase.

The Commission comprising president D.B. Binu and members V. Ramachandran and Sreevidhya.T.N. issued the order on a petition filed by K.N. Mohan Babu of Angamaly against the mobile phone manufacturer, their customer care, service centre, and the dealer from whom the phone was bought.

The petitioner purchased the phone from a shop at Penta Menaka here at ₹6,200 on December 20, 2017. However, the phone reportedly became non-functional and started showing problems within two months from the date of purchase, following which it was given to the service centre at Ravipuram on March 09, 2018. The opposite parties demanded ₹3,999 for replacing the parts at a discount rate. The complainant insisted that the opposite parties were legally bound to replace the handset or reimburse the money or repair it without any cost since the warranty period was yet to expire. But the opposite parties declined to comply with the demand.

The customer care and the service centre claimed that the complainant’s allegation of a manufacturing defect was false, and that the damage was caused by its exposure to water, which was not covered under the warranty. They denied any negligence, deficiency in service, or unfair trade practices on their part and argued that the complainant was not eligible for any compensation. They accused the complainant of falsely blaming then for the damage caused by him and inappropriately seeking warranty benefits. They requested the Commission to dismiss the complaint with costs.

“The mobile phone had a warranty period of one year from the date of purchase. It became non-functional and developed problems within two months of purchase. Given the short duration before the problems arose, we believe the mobile phone had an inherent manufacturing defect that could not be rectified, rendering it unsuitable,” the Commission observed.

Given the deficiency in service and unfair trade practices established against the oppose parties, the complainant is entitled to relief. The opposite parties are legally bound to repair or replace the mobile phone or reimburse its cost since it had become non-functional within the warranty period, the Commission further added.

Consequently, the panel directed the opposite parties to refund the price of the mobile phone and to pay ₹10,000 each towards compensation and cost of legal proceedings.

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