Consumer courts exist in our country to safeguard the rights of customers. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of the benefits of this system. However, there have been recent changes in this regard. We recently came across a report where the Supreme Court of India asked Ford India to compensate a customer with Rs 42 lakh for a defective Ford Endeavour SUV he had purchased. The customer had bought a Ford Endeavour 3.2-liter version from a dealership, and since the purchase, he has been facing issues with the vehicle. Consequently, the customer filed a complaint with the Punjab State Consumer Commission.
Although the exact date or year of the SUV purchase remains unknown, it is definitely the BS4 model, as Ford updated the engine when the government implemented BS6 norms. The 3.2-liter turbocharged diesel engine was only available with the older version. The customer complained to the commission about defects and issues such as oil leakage from the engine soon after buying the car. After investigating the matter, the State Commission ordered the company to replace the engine for free and pay Rs 2,000 per day as compensation.
The National Commission also upheld this order. Subsequently, Ford India appealed against this order to the Supreme Court. During the pendency of the appeal, Ford India replaced the engine of the Ford Endeavour. However, even after the engine replacement, the customer continued to face issues, rendering the car unsuitable for driving on the road. The customer reported several unresolved issues, significantly affecting the smooth functioning of the vehicle.
Considering these factors, a bench comprising of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Dipankar Dutta issued a judgment, instructing Ford India to pay Rs 42 lakh as compensation for selling a defective car. Already having paid Rs 6 lakh following the orders of the State Consumer Commission, the company was now liable to pay the remaining Rs 36 lakh to the customer. Additionally, the court directed the company to pay an additional Rs 87,000 towards the vehicle’s insurance. Furthermore, the court instructed the customer to return the car to the manufacturer once he has received the complete amount of Rs 36,87,000.
This is not the first time we have encountered such an incident. Last month, the court directed Ford India Pvt Ltd. to pay Rs 29 lakh as compensation, along with a brand new Ford Endeavour, to a customer in Chhattisgarh who had purchased a defective car. The owner of the Ford Endeavour had bought the SUV almost 7 years ago and has been facing issues with the vehicle ever since. The Ford Endeavour was the flagship SUV from the American car manufacturer. However, it is unclear whether the customer would receive a new Ford Endeavour in the older case, as the manufacturer has officially left the Indian market. In another case, a customer filed a case in Kerala Consumer Court after her Ford Fiesta failed to return the fuel efficiency avertised by the manufacturer. The Consumer Court had awarded a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the customer in the case.