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Old 26th December 2006, 11:24   #1
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Default ARTICLE: What to do if you are stuck with a lemon (Defective car)

Even in the most controlled production environments of modern car manufacturers, some cars inevitably come out as defective. What can you do if your car is part of this 1% - a problematic lemon? The administrator of Team-BHP successfully got Mercedes-Benz to replace his problematic two-year-old C-Class with a brand new model.

Team-BHP shows what you can do if you are stuck with a lemon:

Preparation


• Remember that you can win if your case is genuine and you have your facts straight: Indian consumer courts are on your side.

• Complete documentation is a must. Your records should include each and every service station visit, any work carried out and all problems acknowledged. If you are missing documentation, get duplicate copies from your service station before proceeding with your case. Do not ever part with your original documents.

• At every stage of the negotiation, demonstrate that you are well prepared and that you have the time and inclination to pursue your case. Manufacturers have dedicated legal departments, some of whom believe that customers just don’t have the time to dedicate to these long proceedings.

• Verbal promises are worthless. If the manufacturer or dealership commits to anything, have them put it in writing.

• If you car is within the original warranty period, your case will be much stronger.

• Do not give the dealership or manufacturer too many opportunities to repair your car. A handful of visits are enough for them to diagnose and eliminate a functioning car’s problems. If there is no end to problems surfacing, it is better for you to consider alternative action.

• Before you start negotiations, decide what is a reasonable resolution. If there are some defective parts, it should be reasonable to demand their replacement. A free extended warranty period is a good solution for cars that are only slightly problematic, but if you are convinced that your car is beyond repair push only for refund or replacement.

• Some settlements include refunding the original cost of the car, but deducting an amount per kilometer driven. If the amount is reasonable, accept it.

• Unfortunately, there is not much you can do if you bought your car used. If you have purchased your car through authorised certification programs, you may have some albeit limited protection.



Stage One: Negotiation


Keep the legal option as a last resort. A significant amount of time and effort go into court cases and there is a chance that the manufacturer or dealership will offer an appropriate resolution before going that far.

Try to negotiate with your dealership or manufacturer first. Speak respectfully, but firmly: yelling won’t get you anywhere. Leave a copy of your history of problems and service reports with them. Do not let them leave you waiting; always insist on a timeline for the next step and if they promise to get back to you, ask for a deadline. If they are going to send you a document, ask them when you should expect it. It is your job to keep them to their deadlines. At this stage, the dealership or manufacturer will try to gauge how serious you are about solving the problem.



Stage Two: Publicity


If there is one thing a business hates most, it’s bad publicity. If all relevant parties have not agreed to offer you a solution in stage one, use the media to your advantage.

Publicize. Draft a well-written and easy-to-read summary of your problems and include your service records as proof. Post these on India’s largest automotive community (Team-BHP - The Definitive Indian Car Community) and on review sites like MouthShut.com. Get in touch with the help desk of AutocarIndia magazine (a subscriber-only service) and forward them your details. The people there are very cooperative and take on cases like this every month.

Evening publications like Mid-Day love this sort of news. Get in touch with them and push for coverage.

It's fun and useful to send the manufacturer or dealership every link and article. Show them what an angry consumer can do.



Stage Three: Litigate


A majority of the cases that were pursued properly were resolved by this point in the process. If your manufacturer or dealership is still stubbornly refusing to budge, approach the ICRPC (Preparing and Filing Consumer Complaint at Consumer Court in India) or other consumer right activists; there are several non-profit consumer rights groups that will be eager to help you out. These organizations charge a nominal fee and operate out of a sense of social responsibility rather than profit. Do not make the mistake of appointing your usual business lawyer: choose only a consumer-rights specialist. There are many documents to be prepared, but leave them to your lawyer.

Other advantages on your side are that the courts are now very pro-consumer and that manufacturers hate the bad publicity that comes from legal proceedings. Don’t give up: if you fight for your rights, justice will surely prevail!

Last edited by GTO : 11th February 2008 at 16:05.
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Old 26th December 2006, 11:34   #2
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GTO,

Amazing article. Just what i was looking for. I am at stage one currently with Maruti Udyog for my complaints for last one year with my Alto.

I have visited every service centre in bangalore to get the problem sorted out but to no avail. They have replaced a few parts under warranty like the whole clutch assembly on a car with 6k kms on the odo.

The car is under warranty for another 2 yrs but i am really fed up that noone has been able to diagnose the problem and rectify it.

I then went and approached MUL directly via email. After that they have got in touch with the dealer where i purchased the car. The dealer wants me to come with the car again to diagnose. I have already been to him and he has given me a load of rubbish that the car is like that only as the alto is underpowered even more so with the aircon on.

I am refusing to go to him again and have told MUL to sort it out directly and not through the dealer here, or replace my car as i am afraid of the costs i may have to incur after the warranty period.

lets see what happens. This articles comes at a perfect time. Thanks.
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Old 26th December 2006, 12:27   #3
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Herr Respekted Vid_Yag_Singapura.lib,

What is the problem with your 1 yr old Alto? Next question - Alto from Lancer?! As the famous Homer Simpson would say, "D-oooh!"
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Old 26th December 2006, 15:52   #4
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Yup I bought an alto a year back. My dad has the lancer which i use on the weekends. Alto is for Electronics city commute..

The alto has this very annoying jerk while engine braking and during stop and go traffic. when you press the gas on and off in stop go traffic the car gives a sudden jerk and then goes ahead. this is not from start but after a while.

here's the link where i posted that.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...tml#post323742 (RPM Surges-Throttle Body Cleaning)

Lets see how this goes. once I'm back I'm again supposed to take the car to the dealer.

I've taken it 5 times already. They changed the clutch assembly by saying the alto had a defective clutch plate during the Oct 2005 batch.

I took that in writing from Mandovi that it was changed. They told me to see if the car is fine. I told them the clutch is fine but it still jerks.

The dumb guy says thats a common problem in Alto as it is undepowered with the AC.

When i asked him why doesnt it happen in my friends cars which I drive often and they bought their cars 2 months after mine he has no answer.

Once i come back then I'll probably publicize the matter.
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Old 27th December 2006, 14:46   #5
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yeah....i had the same problem with a frnds alto....but the dealer sorted it out and now is running perfectly....

wish u luck @vid
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Old 24th July 2007, 12:52   #6
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I do not agree that stage 2 should be publicity.
Better to go to court.
Since I think that doing a -ve publicity will harm you in the court.

Also... if and when the court case closes on your side, then it becomes a public document and you are free to do bad publicity (in proper limit), since the ruling has become a public domain document/ruling.
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Old 24th July 2007, 15:28   #7
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Well, publicity has worked wonders subscrive. Little else can put so much pressure on the manufacturer...especially when they have goofed up with the product / service.

Also note that I have suggested publicity in Stage 2 and hopefully much before litigation comes into the picture. I do agree that, with some judges, publicity can be looked upon in a negative way. But consumer courts are now incredibly consumer-centric. There's not too many instances where this has posed a problem yet.
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Old 24th July 2007, 15:41   #8
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Just thinking out loud, yes a manufacturer like Mercedes might go out of the way to resolve such an issue out of court, but dont think a mass jantha one (like Maruti) might do the same, they would like to fight it out in court rather.
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Old 24th July 2007, 20:58   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Just thinking out loud, yes a manufacturer like Mercedes might go out of the way to resolve such an issue out of court, but dont think a mass jantha one (like Maruti) might do the same, they would like to fight it out in court rather.
Remember reading in another thread that the owner realised the bumper has been repainted only after driving 300 odd kms after delivery.

And on prompt complaint, got the car replaced.
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Old 24th July 2007, 21:40   #10
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i am also facing the same problem with my scorpio 2006 model. the clutch assembly was replaced at 5000kms. again the the clutch cylinder was replaced at around 5500 kms . but the problem still persists. the clutch sometimes becomes so hard that i get very bad knee pain after an hour of driving. service centre guys can't diagnose the problem. thinking of contacting mahindra directly.please give u r valuable suggestions.thanx
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Old 25th July 2007, 00:19   #11
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Good compilation. But more on stage 3 please. Like whom to approach, where to go and most importantly what "not" to do.
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Old 25th July 2007, 11:03   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Remember reading in another thread that the owner realised the bumper has been repainted only after driving 300 odd kms after delivery.

And on prompt complaint, got the car replaced.
it was done by the "dealer" (damaged car as well as replacement), maruti never got involved
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Old 25th July 2007, 15:41   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
Good compilation. But more on stage 3 please. Like whom to approach, where to go and most importantly what "not" to do.
Non-profit consumer groups are the best. They dont cost much, have resourceful contacts and indepth knowledge.

Quote:
Just thinking out loud, yes a manufacturer like Mercedes might go out of the way to resolve such an issue out of court, but dont think a mass jantha one (like Maruti) might do the same, they would like to fight it out in court rather.
Not exactly mass market but Honda did too.
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Old 30th July 2007, 21:43   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by man_1 View Post
i am also facing the same problem with my scorpio 2006 model. the clutch assembly was replaced at 5000kms. again the the clutch cylinder was replaced at around 5500 kms . but the problem still persists. the clutch sometimes becomes so hard that i get very bad knee pain after an hour of driving. service centre guys can't diagnose the problem. thinking of contacting mahindra directly.please give u r valuable suggestions.thanx
Can you please check your PM.
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