The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) last week ordered Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. to compensate a car owner, Rajiv Sharma, with ₹1 lakh. The reason? The Maruti Zen he purchased in 2004 failed to deliver the promised mileage, a significant deviation from the company’s advertised claims.
What Happened? Sharma’s complaint was based on the disparity between the advertised mileage of 16 to 18 kilometres per litre and the actual mileage of just 10.2 km per litre that he experienced. This issue came to light after he noticed an advertisement in a newspaper in October 2004, which claimed the car could achieve up to 18 km per litre.
Acknowledging that certain factors can affect a car’s mileage, the NCDRC still found the variance in Sharma’s case – around 41% – too significant to overlook. The court underscored the importance of fuel efficiency as a key consideration for prospective car buyers and recognized the sense of being aggrieved or cheated when the actual performance vastly differs from what is advertised.
The argument? Maruti Suzuki’s defence hinged on the argument that Sharma had bought the car five months before the advertisement and that the car’s mileage can vary due to various factors. However, this defence was not sufficient to sway the NCDRC, which upheld the decisions of the district and state consumer commissions in Sharma’s favour.
This ruling reflects the critical importance of mileage for Indian car buyers, as highlighted in a Cars24 report. It also acknowledges the impact of driving habits, weather conditions, and terrain on a vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
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