• Can I approach consumer court in case of manufacturing defect?

I've a certain brand laptop who is notorious for their hinges issues due to design flaw/manufacturing defect. My laptop suffered the same fate, and its hinges got snapped after 1-2 years of normal use. Note that I use my laptop very carefully and gently.
There are many many consumers that facing exactly the same problem as mine.
But since the damage is physical & internal, the said company refused to repair the laptop under warranty, saying that physical damage is Customer Induced and only covered in Accidental Damage Protection Warranty and not Standard Warranty. 

Points to note :
> The company engineer says that there is no way he can determine how the internal damage occurred, hence they ASSUME it as Customer Induced.
> The engineer himself said that there are issues with the hinges of the particular model I've. 
> Their escalation team is completely dodging my questions about their process. They are not transparent at all. All they are saying is your laptop doesn't have ADP warranty so you'll have to pay (~Rs5000) for the repairs.

Other :
> The laptop is also suffering for a very peculiar problem, and it has been repaired 3 times for it. The issue goes away but pops up again after a couple of months. And as of now the issue has occurred 4th time. 

My questions would be : 
1. Is it legally correct for them to ASSUME that the damage is customer induced. They have no way of proving it. Can this be challenged in court ? On the other hand, there are hundreds of customers who are suffering from the exact  same problem as mine, and I'm 100% sure that I didn't damage my laptop. 

2. Can I approach consumer court for such manufacturing defect/faulty product ? Does standard warranty cover such issues ? 

2.1 Can I also approach consumer court for having to get my laptop repaired several times ?  

3. Many people are suffering from exactly the same problem as mine and have posted it on internet. Does it count as anything ?

4. I'm suffering from this issue since 1.5 year so 
4.1  If I approach the consumer court, what kind of relief I can expect ? 
4.2  How much should I claim for ? The cost of laptop is around 45k and repairs is around 5k
4.3  Should I hire a lawyer ? How much does a lawyer usually charge for consumer court cases ?

5. In a scenario that I lose the case, what can be the consequences ? Do I have to pay a fine ? Can the defense ask for their lawyer's fees, etc ?
Asked 11 months ago in Civil Law from Ahmedabad, Gujarat
1) you can approach consumer forum against manufacturer for failure to repair the laptop within warranty period 

2) you should rely upon engineer report wherein he has stated that they have problem with hinges and that they assume damage caused by customer and that there is no way of verifying whether internal damage has been caused by customer 

3) also rely upon various complaints made against said model of laptop on Internet 

4) you should seek replacement of laptop , compensation for mental torture undergone by you and litigation expenses 

5) you need not engage a lawyer as litigation fees would far outweigh costs of laptop 

6) if you lose the case you won't have to pay any fine

7) cases before consumer forum take 2 years to be disposed of 
Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
23165 Answers
1216 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
If the company from whom you purchased the laptop has a bad reputation as posted on various websites by many dissatisfied customers you can take the company/manufacturer to court, the consumer court for manufacturing a defective product, in this case you must make the retailer also one party because he sold the product to you.
Now from what you describe the problem to be, it seems that the defect or fault has been recurring since the time of purchase of the product and fortunately for you since it was covered under the warranty you got it repaired free of cost, by holding on to such a product where the problem is recurring can be disadvantages to you in the long run, therefore when you file the complaint before the consumer court seek for total replacement or complete refund.
If on examination by the company engineer they conclude that the fault is consumer or individual induced or caused then you must get the laptop tested or checked by an expert through the permission of the consumer court and his report will dispel all doubts both to you as well as the Hon'ble court. In this case if the test reports were to come back positive, i.e., in your favour then whatever you have claimed from the court will be granted, on the other hand if the same is negatived then in worst cases the court may ask you to pay costs that would have been incurred by the O.P.
Kiran N. Murthy
Advocate, Bangalore
765 Answers
50 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
Hello,
1) If the hinges issues is a result of design flaw/manufacturing defect, you can certainly approach the consumer forum for reliefs although your product is not covered under ADP warranty.

2) When you state that you have not caused the damage it is the onus of the company to prove otherwise and can not rely on the assumption that it is user induced.

3) For the peculiar problem that has been recurring that has not been permanently remedied as well you can approach the consumer forum as it amounts to deficiency in proper service and resulted in losses to you.

4) The relief that you can ask for is damages for the inconvenience and the loss at work,the loss of time and metal suffering and trauma.

5) What you can claim is not always proportionate to the cost and age of the lap top alone or the expenditure incurred in terms of repairs. It also takes into account the loss   of time,effort,money,trauma suffered etc.You can also ask for replacement of the lap top.

6) You can choose to hire a lawyer or conduct your case yourself. However it is always advisable to engage a lawyer to help you as you will have to deal with lawyers from the part of the company and contest the case and mere presentation of the facts would not suffice. The fee of the lawyer differs from person to person.

7) In case you don't succeed in your claim there are no consequences. You are not liable to pay a fine. You however have the option to appeal against the verdict of the forum.
S J Mathew
Advocate, Mumbai
1950 Answers
65 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
1. Is it legally correct for them to ASSUME that the damage is customer induced. They have no way of proving it. Can this be challenged in court ? On the other hand, there are hundreds of customers who are suffering from the exact  same problem as mine, and I'm 100% sure that I didn't damage my laptop. 
You first create  a record in writing by asking the company to get your laptop  repaired which is suffering from manufacture defect and you can even in point the defect which occurred three times earlier but could not repair properly due to the defect in the manufacturing design.  Let the company give their report or ask you to produce the product to their experts for their opinion to your complaint.  Record everything and secure the evidence. After that issue a legal notice on the same line seeking  replacement of the defective product and compensation for the deficient  service. After that you file a consumer complaint against the complaint with the help of the  evidences in your possession. 




2. Can I approach consumer court for such manufacturing defect/faulty product ? Does standard warranty cover such issues ? 
2.1 Can I also approach consumer court for having to get my laptop repaired several times ?  
The relief through consumer court will be more faster than the regular courts. 



3. Many people are suffering from exactly the same problem as mine and have posted it on internet. Does it count as anything ?
They may join you as complainants in your case. 


4. I'm suffering from this issue since 1.5 year so 
4.1  If I approach the consumer court, what kind of relief I can expect ? 
You can seek the relief of replacement of the defective product with a new and good product and also claim compensation for mental agony and costs. 


4.2  How much should I claim for ? The cost of laptop is around 45k and repairs is around 5k
the costs as well as compensation for mental agony and physical loss etc can be assessed by you, there is no standard chart for this.




4.3  Should I hire a lawyer ? How much does a lawyer usually charge for consumer court cases ?
You can appear as a party in person, there is no necessity o engage a lawyer for such cases, if you can argue yourself better, that will be more than sufficient.  The lawyer fee will depend on the lawyer you may intend to engage. 





5. In a scenario that I lose the case, what can be the consequences ? Do I have to pay a fine ? Can the defense ask for their lawyer's fees, etc ?
If you lose he case, i.e., if your case is dismissed, you can prefer an appeal, however until the court orders for costs to be paid to the opposite party, you need not pay anything to the opposite party. The defence lawyer cannot ask for his fees from you.
T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
13964 Answers
127 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
1. There cannot be a presumption that the damage is caused by the customer. The presumption is to the contrary but it can be rebutted in the court. 

2. Your remedy is to approach the consumer forum to seek compensation for the deficiency in service. All the aggrieved consumers can collectively move the consumer forum through a class action lawsuit.

3. Do engage a lawyer. The fee structure of lawyers is not uniform, so I cannot tell how much will your lawyer charge,

4. You can be made liable for the cost of litigation by the other party if you lose.
Ashish Davessar
Advocate, Jaipur
18088 Answers
447 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
1. If you are sure that the damage is  for manufacturing defect and not a customer induced case, then you can certainly approach the Consumer Forum,

2. Collect all the evidence that it is a manufacturing defect and then file a complaint case before the local District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum alleging deficiency in service and unfair business practice claiming refund of the price you have paid with the repairing cost with interest, damage and cost.

Krishna Kishore Ganguly
Advocate, Kolkata
12084 Answers
228 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0

Ask a Lawyer

Get legal answers from top-rated lawyers in 1 hour. It's quick, easy, and anonymous!
Ask a Lawyer

Civil Lawyers

T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
13964 Answers
127 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
23165 Answers
1216 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
Ashish Davessar
Advocate, Jaipur
18088 Answers
447 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
Krishna Kishore Ganguly
Advocate, Kolkata
12084 Answers
228 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
Nadeem Qureshi
Advocate, New Delhi
3523 Answers
129 Consultations
4.9 on 5.0
Rajgopalan Sripathi
Advocate, Hyderabad
868 Answers
43 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
Atulay Nehra
Advocate, Noida
434 Answers
15 Consultations
4.7 on 5.0
Shivendra Pratap Singh
Advocate, Lucknow
2735 Answers
41 Consultations
4.9 on 5.0
Ajay N S
Advocate, Ernakulam
1911 Answers
19 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0
S J Mathew
Advocate, Mumbai
1950 Answers
65 Consultations
5.0 on 5.0