Consumer Court to Jeep India and Dealer: Refund customer Rs. 61 lakh for faulty SUV

Buying a car is a dream for many. People often conduct extensive research and even seek expert advice. However, there have been cases where customers have purchased faulty cars and approached the consumer court for a solution. One such incident was recently reported from Chandigarh, where a customer who bought a Jeep luxury SUV was offered a refund of Rs 61 lakh by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh. The customer, Inderjit Kaur, had bought a Jeep SUV, and soon after the purchase, the four-wheeler started experiencing issues.

Consumer Court to Jeep India and Dealer: Refund customer Rs. 61 lakh for faulty SUV
Jeep dealership- representational image

Inderjit Kaur, a resident of Sector 33-B, Chandigarh, had purchased a Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV from KAS Cars, a local Jeep dealer. According to the customer, she was approached by an official from KAS Cars with a discount offer for the Grand Cherokee SUV. The official offered a discount of Rs 17 lakh on the SUV, which had an ex-showroom price of around Rs 80 lakh. The reason for the discount was that the SUV was manufactured in November 2016.

The officials assured the customer that this was a brand-new car with no defects. With confidence from the dealership, the customer went ahead and bought the SUV for Rs 61.61 lakh on September 14, 2018. Shortly after the purchase, the customer began experiencing issues with the car. She alleged that the luxury SUV would stop abruptly in the middle of the road, a situation that posed significant risks. Whenever she took the car to the dealership or service center, they would make temporary repairs and return the car, claiming that the issues had been resolved.

Even after multiple attempts to fix the car at the dealership, the issues persisted. Frustrated, the customer finally insisted on a replacement, but the dealership denied the request. When she asked for a refund, they also refused. The company argued that FCA India Automobiles sells vehicles to its authorized dealers on a wholesale basis, and once the pre-delivery inspection and sale are complete, they can only replace defective parts covered by warranty.

The dealership that sold the car disputed the complainant’s claim that the car had manufacturing defects. It is unclear whether the court ordered an expert team to inspect the vehicle before reaching a conclusion. After hearing arguments from both parties, the commission directed FCA and the Jeep dealership to refund the full amount paid by Inderjit Kaur for the car. The customer will receive a refund of Rs 61.61 lakh, and the court has ordered the opposing parties to make this payment within 45 days of receiving a copy of the order. If they fail to do so, they will be liable to pay interest on this amount from the date of the order until it is actually realized. In addition to the full refund, the opposing parties were directed to pay Rs 50,000 for causing immense mental agony to the customer and an additional Rs 15,000 to cover her legal expenses. Lately we have come across couple of incidents where consumer court has actually helped customers get full refund after they were sold defective cars by dealership.