Court to Tata Nano owner: Pay Rs. 91,000 parking charges

A Tata Nano owner has been asked to pay a parking charge of Rs. 91,000 to the car dealer, by a consumer court in Gujarat. In addition to this parking charge, the commission also imposed a cost of Rs. 3,500 on the Tata Nano owner, who also happens to be a lawyer.

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Wait, what?

The Gandhinagar District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission adjudicated the case, in which a woman lawyer – Sona Sagar – alleged that a Tata car dealer workshop – Harsolia Brothers – did not repair her Tata Nano to her satisfaction. Ms. Sagar dropped off her Tata Nano for service on the 7th of June, 2018. A week later, the workshop called her and asked her to take back the repaired vehicle, and also raised a bill of Rs. 9,900 for the same.

While taking delivery of the repaired vehicle, Ms. Sagar alleged that some parts of the vehicle including the air conditioning unit and music system were damaged. Following this, the woman lawyer refused take delivery of the Tata Nano after repairs, and left the workshop. In 2019, the woman lawyer approached the consumer court for relief, suing the workshop for deficiency in service, and sought delivery of her Tata Nano in a fully repaired condition.

The Tata Nano was left at the dealership – Harsolia Brothers – for 910 days, which is the time taken for the dispute to be resolved by the Gandhinagar District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission. In the meantime, Harsolia Brothers claim that they contacted the woman through email, asking her to take her Tata Nano car back from the dealership. Harsolia Brothers sent the woman lawyer 58 emails and one notice, asking her to take the vehicle back from the dealership. The woman lawyer refused to comply, and let her car stay at the dealership until the case at the consumer forum was disposed of.

Stating their case in front of the Gandhinagar District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, the car workshop sought Rs. 91,000 as parking charges from the woman lawyer, alleging that she did not take the repaired car for over 910 days. The workshop charges Rs. 100 per day as parking charges when an owner delays taking a repaired car back. In 2020, the woman lawyer filed another application with Gandhinagar District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, and claimed that the car was not delivered to her despite her calling the workshop 6 times, and that the commission must direct the workshop to deliver her repaired car.

The Gandhinagar District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission president D T Soni and member J P Joshi had these comments to make after levying a parking charge of Rs. 91,000 and a cost of Rs. 3,500,

The lawyer ought to have first paid the repairing charges. She cannot be considered a consumer for not paying the repair charges. The car is lying idle in an unworkable and worsening condition by lapse of time for more than two years. Harsolia Brothers has, in fact, shown good faith and kindness, but it has been its misfortune. In absence of wherewithal of the complainant, opponent is made to wait for the result of this litigation.