Refund Or Replace: Supreme Court To Mercedes Benz

supreme court mercedes benz s-class replace refund

The number of people approaching court seeking justice after getting cars with defects has increased over the years. People are now aware of their rights and are acting accordingly. Recently, the Supreme Court of India asked Mercedes-Benz to refund or replace cars sold with defects. The apex court upheld the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) decision to grant relief to two companies that encountered issues after buying the luxury car.

Refund Or Replace: Supreme Court To Mercedes Benz
Supreme Court

Justice Bela M. Trivedi and Justice Pankaj Mithal were addressing appeals in two different cases. In the first case, a Mercedes-Benz vehicle was overheating, and in the second case, the airbags failed to deploy during a crash.

While looking into the matter, the court said, “People do not purchase high-end luxury cars to suffer discomfort, especially when they buy the vehicle with utmost faith in the supplier who makes representations in the brochures or advertisements projecting and promoting such cars as the finest and safest automobiles in the world.”

Refund Or Replace: Supreme Court To Mercedes Benz

In the first case, Controls & Switchgear Company Ltd bought two Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury sedans for its directors. One of the cars started developing issues. It faced heating issues, especially in the center hump area, and despite multiple repair attempts by the company, the issue remained. The NCDRC ruled in favor of the complainant, directing Mercedes to either replace the car or refund half the purchase price of Rs 1.15 crore.

Refund Or Replace: Supreme Court To Mercedes Benz
W211 E-class

In the second case, a Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan purchased for the managing director of CG Power and Industrial Solutions Ltd was involved in a head-on collision in 2006. The airbags in the car failed to deploy, leading to severe injuries to the managing director. CG Power said it had purchased the car based on Mercedes-Benz’s representations of advanced safety features, including the airbags.

However, Mercedes-Benz claimed that the accident did not warrant airbag deployment. They argued that the driver was sufficiently restrained by seat belts and that the front passenger airbag only deploys when there is a passenger in the seat. The NCDRC awarded Rs 5 lakh for deficiency in services and another Rs 5 lakh for unfair trade practices.

Mercedes-Benz appealed the first case in the Supreme Court, stating that the vehicle was used for commercial purposes and thus should be excluded from the ambit of consumer protection laws. However, the court could not find any evidence to support Mercedes-Benz’s claims. The court noted that the car was used by the director and his family for personal purposes, with no connection to any profit-generating activity of the respondent company.

In the second case, Mercedes filed an appeal, and CG Power filed a cross-appeal seeking higher compensation. The NCDRC found that the user manual of the E-class did not adequately inform buyers about the specific conditions in which the airbags would deploy.

While dismissing the appeal, the Supreme Court said, “Incomplete disclosure or non-disclosure of the complete details about the functioning of the airbags at the time of promotion of the car has rightly been considered by the National Commission as an ‘unfair trade practice’ on the part of the appellants.”