Dealers should share blame for any faulty goods | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Dealers should share blame for any faulty goods

It is unfortunate that most retailers in India think that their responsibility begins and ends with just selling a product. If there is any defect in it, the liability rests solely with the manufacturer.

delhi Updated: Sep 15, 2012 23:07 IST

It is unfortunate that most retailers in India think that their responsibility begins and ends with just selling a product. If there is any defect in it, the liability rests solely with the manufacturer.

They continue to operate and function under this illusion, despite several consumer court verdicts against this view. In Blue Chip India Vs Dr Chandrashekara Patial (RP 2884 of 2006, decided on 13-10-2006), for example, this was one of the main contentions of the dealer, against whom the consumer had filed a complaint for selling a defective personal computer.

In response to the District Forum’s direction, asking the dealer to refund the cost of the computer, along with 12 % interest, the dealer filed appeals before the higher consumer forums. His argument was that the responsibility for refund rested with the manufacturer and he had not been impleaded as a party in the complaint.

Dismissing this, the highest consumer court, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission pointed out that there was no privity of contract between the consumer and the manufacturer of the computer and therefore it was not at all necessary for the consumer to bring him into the complaint.

Similarly in M.Subba Rao Vs Avula Venkata Reddy, ( RP no 3292 of 2003, decided on March 22, 2007), the seller’s argument was that he was not personally responsible for the defective seeds sold by him and therefore the complaint should have been filed against the manufacturer.

Dismissing this argument, the apex consumer court observed, “In our view, no doubt the manufacturer would have been a proper party, but at the same time, the petitioner is a person who has supplied and sold the seeds to the complainant, therefore complaint was maintainable against the petitioner."

It further pointed out that if the dealer had any grievance, it was open to him to recover the compensation amount from the manufacturer, but he cannot argue that a dealer, who sold the seeds was not liable.

So remember, dealers cannot escape responsibility for the products that they sell and it is up to the consumer whether he/she wants to hold only the dealer or both the dealer and the manufacturer responsible for defective goods.

J.K.Choudhry: I purchased a split AC and during its installation, it was noticed that the remote was missing. However both the distributor and the company are refusing to take responsibility and are now asking me to pay for it. I have come to know of similar complaints about the distributor and I am now worried that. If they could take out the handset, they could, well, have removed or replaced some original parts too. I want to go to the consumer court, how do I go about it?

You paid the manufacturer/dealer for an AC with a remote and he has to give you just that. If the box did not contain the remote, then he has to take it back and send you another box (with the seal intact) containing the AC and the remote. Send him a formal letter to this effect and if he fails to comply, lodge a complaint with the consumer court. Keep the receipt safe and if the person who came to install the AC gave you a note on the missing remote (that would be the correct procedure) keep that as well. If there are other complainants, get them too to join you. The manufacturer should not ask you to pay for a product twice.