The court has awarded the victory in favour of the Ford Endeavour owner because of unfair trade practices
On January 21, 2009, a case was filed under Section-19 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 with the State Consumer Redressal Commission by Mayur Batra. He had bought a Ford Endeavour at INR 13.57 lakh at South City Motors, an authorized Ford dealer in India. The car was insured with ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd at INR 50,550 with a period from February 28, 2006 to February 26, 2007.
On December 8, 2996, the vehicle suffered an accident near Ludhiana and suffered severe damage. The front of the car was crushed to pieces and the airbag did not inflate. The windscreen got broken and the driver got injured. On December 11, 2006, the car was taken to the workshop for loss assessment and inspection. The body shell suffered serious damage and the chassis cracked, which resulted in a total repair cost of INR 14 lakh, which was more than the cost of a new vehicle. Nevertheless, only INR 3 lakh was approved to implement the repair. On March 31, 2007, the car owner was informed that the Ford Endeavour had been repaired and can be released with a repair cost of INR 4,81,148. In May, 2007, he was informed to pay a further amount of INR 1,91,000 and the balance would be paid by the Insurance Company.
The Ford Endeavour suffered so severe damage that this should be treated as a total cost.
When checking the car, Batra realized that the brakes were not operating properly so the vehicle cannot be taken for a test drive. Assurance regarding the vehicle safety cannot also be provided by the workshop and whether the vehicle had been restored to its original condition or not is not ensured, either. The workshop stated, “The accidental deformities can be removed only by replacement of the vehicle body.” As the vehicle had not been fully restored to its original conditions, this is a service deficiency and an unfair trade practice.
A surveyor determining that the SUV suffered only repairable damage was appointed by the defence which did not recommend total loss for the car. The State Commission decided that the insurer pay the complainant the insured value of the vehicle with a less 5% depreciated value since the vehicle was only ten months old when the accident occurred.
When the amount has been paid, Batra needed to transfer registration to the Insurance Company’s name and hand over the keys. On the other hand, the Insurance Company needed to clear the repair bill with the workshop. The insurer needed to pay a litigation cost of 10k to the car owner. The insurer was aggrieved by this decision and had filed the present Appeal. Eventually, in the order of July 28 delivered by C Viswanathan for the Bench with Prem Narain, the National Commission has awarded a win for the car owner because of a service efficiency and unfair trade practice and dismissed the insurer’s appeal.