In a dramatic turn of events, an owner of Skoda Octavia got his car towed by donkeys. The incident happened in Ludhiana, Punjab, where the car was towed through busy market areas and other residential roads of the city. Two donkeys were made to pull the new-generation Octavia.
The owner resorted to this in protest against the car manufacturer, who failed to solve a problem that caused the car to break down regularly. According to the ANI, the customer was frustrated after many failed attempts by the dealership to rectify a problem in his car. The customer also contacted dealer head and the zonal office of Skoda but did not get an adequate response.
Even though Skoda has an excellent product line-up in India that consists of Rapid, Yeti, Octavia and Superb, the infamous after-sales service of the company keeps many customers away from the brand. Over the years, Skoda has gained a bad reputation in India because of numerous reports of unprofessional service and misconduct in India. Skoda cars in India come with a perception of expensive maintenance and low reliability, something that the Czech automaker owned by the VW group is working hard to change.
What’s Skoda doing to address these issues?
- Last year, Skoda announced that the company would spend Rs. 100 crore in India to develop the dealership network in the country.
- Skoda has already taken few initiatives like digitization of the of the brand and the customer interference and has launched the MySkoda app.
Here is an official statement from Skoda India about the incident
“The examination conducted by the ŠKODA technical team reveals that the car specifications have been altered by the customer which has led to invalidating the ŠKODA warranty. The modifications have resulted in consequential damage and the ŠKODA warranty states that the manufacturer is not responsible for any aftermarket fitments to the vehicle. Customer service is our number one priority; we always have and will continue to provide full cooperation to the customer to ensure the car is roadworthy at the earliest” ŠKODA India spokesperson.”
Not an isolated incident
The Ludhiana incident is extreme but is not isolated in India. There have been many events in the past where customers took the extreme route of getting the car towed by the donkeys. Here are a few examples:
An Ahmedabad businessman put hay on his Jaguar XF and fed the donkeys after his vehicle repeatedly broke down and failed to start. The businessman said that the donkeys are better than the premium sedan of Jaguar. This came after the owner spent several times on fixing the car.
Toyota Land Cruiser 200
Toyota is one of the most trusted brands in India when it comes to reliability. The flagship SUV of Toyota brand faced wrath when the vehicle started developing snags only after a few days of taking delivery. The protest came after the delay in the arrival of the parts for the car.
The premium sedan was dragged by donkeys after the Vadodara-based businessman was fed up by the car. The E-Class started developing many problems which were rectified Mercedes-Benz, but the problems kept on coming back and haunting the businessman.
Why India urgently needs ‘Lemon Laws’?
A lemon law is one that protects the customers from products that repeatedly fail to meet the standards of quality and performance. Such laws are common in developed countries. According to such laws, any appliance, car, truck or motorcycle that is found to be defective should be replaced immediately, or compensation should be given to the customer.
India has a large portion of customers who are not very happy with the products the purchase. The promised quality or the performance is not delivered by many goods. While some consumer laws protect customers in India, litigation often takes years. A new set of rules or simpler form of consumer protection law will make the customers much happier and will generate a lot of trust.