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Old 21st May 2013, 17:42   #1
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Unhappy Bought new WagonR, suffered breakdown, fighting in court with Maruti

So this is NOT my story! But i though I could help this poor girl who is a very dear friend of mine reach some solution for this gift that never stops taking. Here goes the story -

The Gift that never stops taking

On 24.03.2011, my dad proudly drove home a Wagon R (LXI) that he had bought for my sister and I. an early birthday gift. The car was purchased from M/s. Pratham Motors, Queen’s Road, Bangalore, against a full payment of Rs. 3, 95,887.

On the 4th of April a little over a week after the purchase, we still hadn’t driven the car since it had been brought home. The vehicle when we picked it up had run 48kms and we only live 10kms away from the showroom, so we had clocked it to 58kms. We decided to get the car blessed at a nearby church before we started using it regularly. WE tried to start the car but the battery was completely dead. We had to get it charged before the beast woke up. We had hardly driven 3kms and the car jerked to a halt. And of course, like any typical Indian family we had the whole khandaan in there, including an 88year old grandmother and an 8months pregnant cousin. What should have been a quick run to the church and back turned into a climax straight from a Saas-bahu show. We were stranded on the side of the road for 4hours (between 1130 am – 4pm)

After the long wait, an authorized Maruthi service centres (Aryan Motors, Banaswadi) as suggested by Marut’s Delhi office came by to investigate the problem which as it turns out we weren’t short of. The fuse of a week old vehicle was blown, the fan was not working, the coolant was spurting which was making the radiator dangerously hot. The service centre personnel, who for all intents and purposes I will call Captain Obvious, told us we shouldn’t be driving the car in its condition. So while we waited for 4hours, to be told we shouldn’t be driving a car that had died we had been trying to reach Pratham Motor’s (dealers) but they weren’t available till 330pm, when they finally gave us permission to have the car towed by Captain Obvious. One of the managers at Pratham Motors, Mr. Prem and Captain Obvious insisted that it was a manufacturing defect, which also happened to be a ‘one in a lakh case’, we had won the lottery.

And that’s the last we saw of the Gift.
Maruti refused to replace the car, they also said it was our fault because we let a different dealer inspect the car. They generously offered to fix the ‘issue’ and asked us to come pick up the car at any convenient time. My father decided it would be more convenient to go to Consumer Court. You would think for a man who devours the newspaper every morning, he would be more familiar with the workings of our judicial system. His misguided faith prevailed and “D’Silva vs. Maruti Suzuki” was born.

Might I add, the naïve fools that we are, we had already paid for the car in full after taking a car loan.
Long and atypical story short, we sued, we won, they appealed and the case is still trudging along. I have been paying the EMI for the car loan for the past 2 years. Next year this time I will have closed the loan and will have no car to show for it.

I appreciate that Maruti has saved me a lot of money in fuel considering the hike in prices every other week, but I would like to have a car that I could drive and not own on paper.

Maruti with its endless resources is going to drag this case till the car is worth less than scrap and most likely till I am legally blind, doesn’t matter which comes first. What I am looking for right now is just getting my car back, a shiny new Wagon R and not a certifiably defunct one.


END STORY

Now i certainly hope after all this there is some respite for her. Now most people would have gone and said she should have just taken the car as it was. HOWEVER - I would like to agree with her and her father. It's a brand new car. Its not supposed to do nonsense like this. Inconveniencing a customer like this to this extent is just not needed. I don't see why they need to go this far to deny someone what ought to rightfully be theirs.

However if there are other opinions on what needs to be done I would be glad to hear it.

****NOTE TO MODS*** Input would be appreciated. Hope to hear from you via PM. Thanks.
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Old 22nd May 2013, 13:36   #2
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Default Re: Bought new WagonR, suffered breakdown, fighting in court with Maruti

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Indian Car Scene. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 22nd May 2013, 13:54   #3
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Default Re: Bought new WagonR, suffered breakdown, fighting in court with Maruti

And another sad story of a carmaker playing the bully pops up. All I can say is good luck to your friend mate. Such stories will keep happening until and unless our laws become strict and pro-consumer which they are not going to become anytime soon. Hopefully the issue will be resolved at the earliest.
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Old 22nd May 2013, 14:02   #4
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Default Re: Bought new WagonR, suffered breakdown, fighting in court with Maruti

The story is a little short on details and I did not understand what the "manufacturing defect" was and how a dead battery or a coolant leak would warrant replacement of the car.

However, since it is mentioned that the customer sued Maruti and won, I take it that there is some merit to their case.

There are some parallels to this case with Harish's case vs Skoda. I will be watching this thread to see if Maruti turns out to be any different from Skoda.
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Old 22nd May 2013, 14:18   #5
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Default Re: Bought new WagonR, suffered breakdown, fighting in court with Maruti

I am also contemplating a case against VW, my Polo has had 2 massive fuel leaks, a brake jam and struts replaced in a year of ownership. We were stranded by the roadside on more than 2 occasions, all this after paying 8 big ones for some "german engineered" car.

How long did the consumer forum take to come out with the judgement and did they go to a High court or sessions later on ?
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Old 22nd May 2013, 14:51   #6
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Default Re: Bought new WagonR, suffered breakdown, fighting in court with Maruti

Feel bad for her and the family.
What I don't understand is that although you might be asking for a new car in place of the lemon, you should keep the lemon with you and NOT with the dealer. The cases are long drawn and the dealer is NOT going to take care of that car while it is with him.

Secondly, a twisted thought! If you don't want the lemon back, why pay the EMI? Let the bank come to seize the vehicle and you can give them the address of the dealer to pick up the vehicle from.

Last edited by SDP : 22nd May 2013 at 14:53.
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Old 22nd May 2013, 14:51   #7
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Default Re: Bought new WagonR, suffered breakdown, fighting in court with Maruti

Quote:
Originally Posted by valhallen.282 View Post
However if there are other opinions on what needs to be done I would be glad to hear it.

****NOTE TO MODS*** Input would be appreciated. Hope to hear from you via PM. Thanks.

Hey,

I suggest you (and all other people with customer complaints) adopt Social Media as a forum to escalate the issues on FB and twitter pages of manufacturers for getting attention.

I have done some research on this for a project and know for sure that all companies are now-a-days conducting "Social Media Listening" to ensure Brand Maintainence and prevention of viral bad mouthing on social forums.

Good luck for your case...
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Old 22nd May 2013, 15:06   #8
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Default Re: Bought new WagonR, suffered breakdown, fighting in court with Maruti

My friend's Wagon R had a gear box issue. This was with the previous version of the Wagon R before K- Series.

The problem was it would not slot from 3rd to 2nd sometimes. It would be very hard. The dealers service incharge was unable to reproduce the issue.

Finally, after repeated follow up and an accident averted during driving in ghats, when brought to notice, alerted the dealer and the whole gearbox was replaced under Warranty.

This was with Chougule @ Pune more than 3 yrs back. Looks like Maruti does not care for Customer's like it used to earlier.

We are being taken for granted due to non-implementation of stricter laws. The companies know they can keep dragging the case in courts without resolving the issue.

First VW group, now Maruti ? Hope this is one - off case.

Cheers
MKP
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Old 22nd May 2013, 15:17   #9
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Default Re: Bought new WagonR, suffered breakdown, fighting in court with Maruti

I too agree with SDP. What's the point of paying the EMI when you don't want or have the Car. You have to get rid of the lemon, this way or that way.

Better stop paying whatever EMIs you are left with, let bank seize the car.

Now having said that, did you try to resolve the issue with the dealer amicably rather than jumping directly to the court. Most of the times, a good and amicable posture does wonder rather than showing arrogance. Anyways, what's done can't be undone.

All the best!!!
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Old 22nd May 2013, 15:17   #10
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Default Re: Bought new WagonR, suffered breakdown, fighting in court with Maruti

In the movie Fight club, there is this amazing dialogue that keeps coming to my mind everytime I hear of such a case

Quote:
Narrator: A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.

Woman on plane: Are there a lot of these kinds of accidents?

Narrator: You wouldn't believe.

Woman on plane: Which car company do you work for?
Narrator: A major one.
Seems like we can replace the 'major one' by any of the lot.


Quote:
Originally Posted by valhallen.282 View Post
So this is NOT my story!


****NOTE TO MODS*** Input would be appreciated. Hope to hear from you via PM. Thanks.
@valhallen,
Sad to hear of your friend's ordeal. Considering this is something that happened in the past, not sure how much of help any of us would be able to provide. But some more details on the issues with the car and case details would help.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post
Secondly, a twisted thought! If you don't want the lemon back, why pay the EMI? Let the bank come to seize the vehicle and you can give them the address of the dealer to pick up the vehicle from.
Not a very sound idea - the OP's friend's credit history would go for a toss, not to forget the bank might try a lot more persuasive & humiliating measures before they are satisfied with only picking up the car.
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Old 22nd May 2013, 15:22   #11
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Default Re: Bought new WagonR, suffered breakdown, fighting in court with Maruti

Sorry to hear about your plight.

I will chip in a bit about my own experience with my WagonR.

The gear started "slipping to neutral." I brought to the notice of the dealer/service center from where I purchased the car, and they tried to pass it off as something insignificant. Then I escalated the matter to Maruti by e-mail and as well got the contact of the regional head (responsible for service). Told them they were selling dangerous cars by putting lives in jeopardy. The gear could slip to neutral on a slope doing downhill - this could be disastrous. I could not replicate the problem a few times, but finally I was able to show the chief tech that the problem was indeed there. Luckily, it was not a gear box problem, but some link, which they fixed. All fine so far.

Last edited by johy : 22nd May 2013 at 15:24.
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Old 22nd May 2013, 15:44   #12
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Default Re: Bought new WagonR, suffered breakdown, fighting in court with Maruti

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post
Feel bad for her and the family.
What I don't understand is that although you might be asking for a new car in place of the lemon, you should keep the lemon with you and NOT with the dealer. The cases are long drawn and the dealer is NOT going to take care of that car while it is with him.

Secondly, a twisted thought! If you don't want the lemon back, why pay the EMI? Let the bank come to seize the vehicle and you can give them the address of the dealer to pick up the vehicle from.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiv_1984 View Post
I too agree with SDP. What's the point of paying the EMI when you don't want or have the Car. You have to get rid of the lemon, this way or that way.

Better stop paying whatever EMIs you are left with, let bank seize the car.
If she stops paying the EMI her credit score will be badly hit and will follow her when she applies for any future loans, credit cards, financial services etc. Now, as a person in such a pickle you can decide a poor credit score is the lesser of two evils and stop paying EMIs. All I wanted to point out is that it's not a decision without consequence.

Sad as this case is, the legal option should really only be used as a last resort with full awareness of what it entails and how long it may take. If the company in good faith offers to rectify the problem then one should take it. In this particular case, it seems to me it was a knee jerk reaction to not accept offers to resolve the issue and rush to court. Once in court, the company's lawyers take over and they have their own incentives to win and prolong the case. Also one can't blame Maruti for appealing, it's their legal right.
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Old 22nd May 2013, 16:01   #13
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Default Re: Bought new WagonR, suffered breakdown, fighting in court with Maruti

@Valhallen - Take it to the media. I've seen some good end results after the facts get printed and are read by the masses. Manufacturers wouldn't really want to be seen in a bad light unless they themselves aren't sure if they can come to a definitive resolution. In your friend's case if the court proved that the car in question was a lemon, the media attention might just speed up things and make Maruti just hand over the keys to a new car to your friend.
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Old 22nd May 2013, 16:12   #14
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Default Re: Bought new WagonR, suffered breakdown, fighting in court with Maruti

The OP has not mentioned the actual problem and the subsequent diagnosis. As I can make it out, probably the radiator's cooling fan fuse was blown. Due to this the fan didn't start on time and the engine overheated and eventually seized. Not entirely blaming the driver, but one should keep an eye on the gauges and I think that before coming to a halt, the car must have shown some symptoms of overheating.

Also, just trying to get in to the root of the problem, why did the battery got discharged in just a week's time? May be it was possible that being a new car, they might have left something running like the cabin light, or any device that drew battery power?
Also, I would like to know that how the battery was charged? if the battery was removed from the car for charging or was it charged in the car? If it was charged in the car by an external charger, the terminals must/ should have been disconnected, else you can blow the ECM and other electricals which draw battery power even when engine is off. Hoep the terminals were connected back with the right polarity.

Again, if the failure was only a fuse issue (& no other major issue), I think they should have accepted the repair job. Car warranties are for that only, isn't it?

I remember an incident which occurred about 14-15 years ago. Our dear family friends bought a brand new Maruti 800 DX. It was barely a few weeks old, a fine evening enjoyed with the 800, when a relay gave up and the cooling fan failed to start. What happened later was exactly what happened to the OP's Wagon-R. Coolant splurged all over the grille & bumper. Next day, MASS changed the relay under warranty and the car ran perfectly well for the next 13 years. It was sold 2 years ago with over a lac of kms on the odo and giving a faithful service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarScream View Post
Sad as this case is, the legal option should really only be used as a last resort with full awareness of what it entails and how long it may take. If the company in good faith offers to rectify the problem then one should take it. In this particular case, it seems to me it was a knee jerk reaction to not accept offers to resolve the issue and rush to court. Once in court, the company's lawyers take over and they have their own incentives to win and prolong the case. Also one can't blame Maruti for appealing, it's their legal right.
Starscream- you could not have put it this in a better way. However, if the issue is like a manufacturing defect which cannot be corrected, or reliability is doubted or any wrong-doins by service stations (Like Mr. Harish's case), and the manufacturer not co-operating, then its the customer's right to knock the law's door..be it the Maruti or Skoda. However, these things graduate at their own snail's pace. So, better to have done a small analysis before opting for this route vs. accepting a small repair job.

Just my thought, comments from people differing from this are most welcome

Regards,
Saket
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Old 22nd May 2013, 16:17   #15
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Default Re: Bought new WagonR, suffered breakdown, fighting in court with Maruti

Quote:
Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
...Not a very sound idea - the OP's friend's credit history would go for a toss, not to forget the bank might try a lot more persuasive & humiliating measures before they are satisfied with only picking up the car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarScream View Post
If she stops paying the EMI her credit score will be badly hit and will follow her when she applies for any future loans, credit cards, financial services etc. Now, as a person in such a pickle you can decide a poor credit score is the lesser of two evils and stop paying EMIs. All I wanted to point out is that it's not a decision without consequence.
....
I would agree with both of you. As I mentioned, its a twisted thought. Definitely NOT recommended.

If you ask my opinion, the OP's friend's father jumped the gun. He should have given the dealer a chance to fix the problem and if the problem would have reocurred, then taken it up with Maruti directly citing a trend.

Today's cars are becoming increasingly more complex mechanically as well as electronically. Its a hurculean task to have zero defects. Customers also need to understand this. Having said that, I do understand that the specific customer who gets stranded on the road would not be in the mood to understand statistics and take the argument that 99,999 cars are running problem-free at the same moment. In my opinion, the solution is to vent out the anger and frustration at the dealer and the manufacturer's office... not to sue.
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