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Old 8th September 2011, 12:08   #16
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Default re: Govt plans amendment to Motor Vehicles Act - To task automakers for lemons

The manufacturers are legally supposed to only fix a lemon, as long as it is within their warranty policy. Anything outside the warranty policy will have to be manufacturer's discretion.

Remember the way lemons are prevented is not through the legal system, but the market. And forums like our own, play a part in the market as well, as it acts as a mechanism for obtaining about products of manufacturers.

If a particular car manufacturer is making too many lemons, the solution to that is not slapping of fines. Legally you cant fault a manufacturer for making a thousand lemons, as long as it is not intentional, or foreseeable.

The penalty for making a thousand lemons, is a drop in sales, not a 10L rupee fine. A drop in sales will show up a lot earlier, and hurt the manufacturer more, than a fine.

In case of a lemon, all the manufacturer is legally bound is to honour all warranty claims within the warranty period and warranty policy.
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Old 8th September 2011, 13:08   #17
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Default Re: Govt plans amendment to Motor Vehicles Act - To task automakers for lemons

In a country with a meandering legal process all this will not work. People don't even have the time to take the case to the consumer court, let alone go to the GOI, and more heartburn and more greasing of palms. After a protracted legal battle, probably your great grandson will inherit the judgement and his son will reap the benefits if they ever think of following it through. All this is typical lip service. I have owned a Sipani D-1 and know exactly the term "lemon". What I did was sell it off after say 2-3 years and move on.

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Old 8th September 2011, 13:48   #18
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Default Re: Govt plans amendment to Motor Vehicles Act - To task automakers for lemons

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At the end of the day, no manufacturer knowingly provides lemons. You cannot fault any manufacture for providing a customer with a "lemon".
For all practical purposes, a "lemon" can be defined as a product that does not satisfactorily perform the most basic of functions, i.e., transporting persons from point x to y, in a reliable fashion. Let's leave out 'repairable faults' from this definition.

So, per your view, even after all warranty claims are honored, and the manufacturer is not able to do anything about it, the consumer should just sell off the car or set the car on fire (if he doesn't want to pass on the harm to anyone else) and move on. This applies to post-warranty period also, even when the consumer is ready to pay for repairs.

Sadly, this is true and the consumer is the loser here.

My view is this: While I agree that "lemons" are not intentionally produced, if there is 1 lemon in ten-thousand and that has landed in the hands of an unsuspecting buyer, why shouldn't the manufacturers compensate this 1 in ten-thousand buyer?


1L is peanuts for them. It might even motivate them to cut costs in certain areas
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Old 8th September 2011, 14:17   #19
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Default Re: Govt plans amendment to Motor Vehicles Act - To task automakers for lemons

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For all practical purposes, a "lemon" can be defined as a product that does not satisfactorily perform the most basic of functions, i.e., transporting persons from point x to y, in a reliable fashion. Let's leave out 'repairable faults' from this definition.

So, per your view, even after all warranty claims are honored, and the manufacturer is not able to do anything about it, the consumer should just sell off the car or set the car on fire (if he doesn't want to pass on the harm to anyone else) and move on. This applies to post-warranty period also, even when the consumer is ready to pay for repairs.

Sadly, this is true and the consumer is the loser here.

My view is this: While I agree that "lemons" are not intentionally produced, if there is 1 lemon in ten-thousand and that has landed in the hands of an unsuspecting buyer, why shouldn't the manufacturers compensate this 1 in ten-thousand buyer?


1L is peanuts for them. It might even motivate them to cut costs in certain areas
1st of all, a warranty means that within a certain period, the manufacturer is supposed to ensure reliable and safe operation of the vehicle within reasonable limits. The manufacturer must do whatever it takes, again within reasonable limits, to provide such a vehicle. If required a replacement vehicle too should be provided.

As for manufacturer compensating a person who has got a lemon, the problem lies in defining a lemon in a clear cut manner in the first place. Also, why should the manufacturer compensate, if he is agreeing to repair the vehicle under warranty as it is.

In the post warranty period, the consumer has to agree that problems may not have been caused by manufacturing defects. Remember, the manufacturer is not responsible for wear and tear.

Also, remember, whenever a customer is buying a product, it is understood that such product is not supposed to be problem free. It is also understood that some units will show more problems than others.

Friends, we cannot wish away luck in this world.
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Old 8th September 2011, 15:26   #20
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Default Re: Govt plans amendment to Motor Vehicles Act - To task automakers for lemons

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the problem lies in defining a lemon in a clear cut manner in the first place.
Bingo. The answer (if there is one) in my opinion will be part subjective and part objective which makes this complicated.

For argument's sake, let me say that a lemon would be a vehicle that is "unusable" under normal circumstances, forcing the owner to decide to leave it in the garage rather than take it out and having to deal with it. Again this is 1 in ten-thousand or so occurence.

Let's say I've paid 10L for a vehicle with 5 features that I like and want (in addition to the basic requirement of transportation). Now when the vehicle 1) breaks down consistently and unpredictably, hence is not reliable or safe 2) breaks down for a different reason each time 3) some or all of the 5 features don't work or can't be used, despite repeated repairs

Don't I deserve compensation because I have suffered a loss, in that I have not got what I paid for?

I know this is debatable. But I am all for a stringent law that both 1) defines a lemon and 2) holds a manufacturer responsible in some way. Only then will the consumers feel protected in some way. Right now, the consumer (read David) has to fight it out alone with the manufacturer (read Goliath).
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Old 8th September 2011, 16:25   #21
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Default Re: Govt plans amendment to Motor Vehicles Act - To task automakers for lemons

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He added that due to resistance from vehicle manufacturers and tyre makers, the mandatory recall mechanism has not been enacted by the government even though the world's most saleable vehicle brands are available in the domestic market.
This is funny. Why would manufacturers not resist. Its pretty obvious. The mechanism that they plan is for consumers.
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Old 8th September 2011, 16:51   #22
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Default Re: Govt plans amendment to Motor Vehicles Act - To task automakers for lemons

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Bingo. The answer (if there is one) in my opinion will be part subjective and part objective which makes this complicated.

For argument's sake, let me say that a lemon would be a vehicle that is "unusable" under normal circumstances, forcing the owner to decide to leave it in the garage rather than take it out and having to deal with it. Again this is 1 in ten-thousand or so occurence.

Let's say I've paid 10L for a vehicle with 5 features that I like and want (in addition to the basic requirement of transportation). Now when the vehicle 1) breaks down consistently and unpredictably, hence is not reliable or safe 2) breaks down for a different reason each time 3) some or all of the 5 features don't work or can't be used, despite repeated repairs

Don't I deserve compensation because I have suffered a loss, in that I have not got what I paid for?

I know this is debatable. But I am all for a stringent law that both 1) defines a lemon and 2) holds a manufacturer responsible in some way. Only then will the consumers feel protected in some way. Right now, the consumer (read David) has to fight it out alone with the manufacturer (read Goliath).
Unfortunately defining a lemon is not that easy as you seem to have made it.

How do you define "unusable?? If I say, the AC is not working and it is unusable for me, is it good enough??

Again if the vehicle is not safe, the company already provides warranty for any such defects. Warranty also exists for any manufacturing defects.

So why should a company compensate, if it provides warranty???

Remember, the company had no intention of providing you with a faulty or unreliable car, which according to the customer is "unusable".

The reason a customer has got a lemon is only due to bad luck. And the risk due to the luck factor is assumed by the customer once he has accepted delivery of a vehicle. The company did not promise you a perfectly reliable vehicle. And because it cannot promise that, it offers warranty against manufacturing defects.

Imposition of any penalty, or even calling a company responsible for providing a supposed "lemon" hinges on the fact that the company has to have done it intentionally, or it should have been foreseeable for the company that their processes would not produce reasonably reliable cars based in accepted industry standards.

Only if either of those cases is true can you call the company responsible and impose any sort of penalty on it.

The mechanism for preventing companies from producing extremely unreliable cars remains market mechanisms and not the legal justice systems.
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Old 8th September 2011, 18:42   #23
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Default Re: Govt plans amendment to Motor Vehicles Act - To task automakers for lemons

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Originally Posted by julupani View Post
Unfortunately defining a lemon is not that easy as you seem to have made it.
No sir, I was not trying to define a lemon; I definitely can't. I know I gave some definition, but I did by mentioning "for argument's sake" and also said it is debatable. I agree it is not possible to define a lemon, with a definition that will be acceptable both to the industry and the consumer.

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How do you define "unusable?? If I say, the AC is not working and it is unusable for me, is it good enough??
Unusable for me would be what I said initially: it does not perform it's basic function of transporting, reliably. I mentioned "features" for the sake of it: we do spend a few tens of thousands or a lakh more for those features that we want. Though, to me they become a secondary problem if the primary usability becomes an issue.

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The reason a customer has got a lemon is only due to bad luck. And the risk due to the luck factor is assumed by the customer once he has accepted delivery of a vehicle. The company did not promise you a perfectly reliable vehicle. And because it cannot promise that, it offers warranty against manufacturing defects.
OK; can we look at it like this? A lemon comes out of the factory and lands in a consumer's hands. And suddenly, no-one is responsible for this? Worse, it appears the consumer is now "responsible" for this. This, in the advanced age we live in? Something does not feel right here.

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Imposition of any penalty, or even calling a company responsible for providing a supposed "lemon" hinges on the fact that the company has to have done it intentionally,
Again no manufacturer intends to produce faulty products, but the fact that their processes, raw material or human input tends to err or are prone to failures, should be accepted by them, and they should take some amount of responsibility for that.

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or it should have been foreseeable for the company that their processes would not produce reasonably reliable cars based in accepted industry standards.
One obvious question: wouldn't they attempt to correct if it was "foreseeable"? Or, till them time their processes improve to produce reliable cars, aren't they responsible? Again industry standards, might net out that a manufacturer can produce 1 un-reliable car in 500,000 (assume). What happens to that 1?

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Only if either of those cases is true can you call the company responsible and impose any sort of penalty on it.

The mechanism for preventing companies from producing extremely unreliable cars remains market mechanisms and not the legal justice systems.
As I said, let somebody define "lemon". Make a law around it. I'm sure with today's manufacturing standards, the percentage of lemons will turn out to be negligible (for the manuf.). Let the manuf. compensate the buyer, study the lemon and improve anything if there is scope, and if not, take the goodwill that it just earned by compensating.

Also I'm not for putting the entire blame on the manufacturer as well, let there be a trade-off on the parts of both the buyer and seller and a mutual agreement reached during the "compensation".
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Old 8th September 2011, 18:59   #24
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Default Re: Govt plans amendment to Motor Vehicles Act - To task automakers for lemons

I am sorry man, but you have to accept that no manufacturer has taken on any challenge to make perfect products. They try and try hard, but it doesnt mean they succeed.

No matter how advanced technology gets, luck or fate or god, whatever you want to call it will always exist. They cannot be eliminated.

Now to directly countering a few of your above points.

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Unusable for me would be what I said initially: it does not perform it's basic function of transporting, reliably.
What constitutes "reliably"?

And this is a commonly known fact, and a fact that any reasonable customer too should know.

And he undertakes the risk that he may be the unlucky one to get that product which is extremely unreliable.

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Originally Posted by ssh1979 View Post
Again no manufacturer intends to produce faulty products, but the fact that their processes, raw material or human input tends to err or are prone to failures, should be accepted by them, and they should take some amount of responsibility for that.
The manufacturer does provide warranty to ensure that manufacturing faults are taken care of.

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One obvious question: wouldn't they attempt to correct if it was "foreseeable"? Or, till them time their processes improve to produce reliable cars, aren't they responsible?
Exactly. Thus only when a foreseeable error was not prevented is the manufacturer responsible. As for when their processes are improving, the customer would tend to know that wouldnt he?? And by accepting the vehicle the customer has undertaken the higher risk involved with buying such a product.

In such cases, the company would be much more lenient with their warranty claims.

You cannot make a law around a lemon. Because of the following fact.

Nobody is responsible for it. The only "person" who can remotely be held responsible is "GOD".
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