A fan is such a simple electrical gadget that you would probably think one is as good as the other. Well, you will probably be surprised if I said something to the contrary.
In fact, about four years ago, a Delhi-based consumer group, VOICE, tested 12 brands of 1200 mm, three-blade ceiling fans and found in their performance, much to be desired.
A good quality fan should be safe, perform noiselessly, consume less power, be energy-efficient and provide good breeze. However, tests found that fans were not so efficient when it came to air delivery.
In fact, VOICE found that in this parameter, the quality had gone down since 2002, when VOICE had tested 10 brands.
Similarly, barring two brands, all others failed in the ‘Service Value’ test, which refers to the amount of air delivered per minute per wattage of electricity (or to put it differently, the energy efficiency of the fan).
The Indian Standards put a limit on the power input or power consumption of fans and here too, barring two, all others failed!
Consumers would, therefore, do well to go for those fans that have the energy efficiency labelling from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).
It might be a good idea to have it serviced and re-fixed at least once in a while.
I say this because some years ago, a resident of Bangalore had a narrow escape when the blades of a ceiling fan came hurtling down at full speed.
I also remember a case that had come up before the consumer court many years ago.
A consumer had been injured when the ceiling fan in a movie theatre in Mumbai came crashing down on her, even as she watched, absorbed, the climax of the movie. In this case, the consumer court awarded compensation to her.
More recently, a customer at a shop in Gurgaon was hit by the moving blades of a small, wall-mounted fan, when they got detached from the body of the fan. Besides being safe, the fans should also be without defects. It's worth taking a look at the experience of Mr Samir Das, a reader from Delhi.
He says that despite complaining several times, no one came to attend to his complaint about a new ceiling fan that he had purchased.
Exasperated, he paid more and changed the model. After that, a representative came
and noted that the ‘complaint was resolved’. Now the changed fan is also wobbling and ‘making noise like a 100-year old fan’, but no one has attended to it.
He now wants the retailer to give a refund or a defect-free replacement.
Another reader has a slightly different problem. Ms Komala Rao says: I bought a China-made fan and it has turned out to be defective. I now want the shopkeeper to give me a different model, but he is refusing it. I do not even know who the manufacturer is. What do I do?
Answer: The retailer has to take responsibility for the defective fan. In case of imported goods, the importer as well as the retailer is responsible for the quality of goods, but you can file a case against the retailer alone. In the case of M.Subba Rao vs Avula Venkata Reddy (RP no. 3292 of 2003, decided in 2007), the highest consumer court in the country has made it clear that a complaint can be filed against a retailer alone. If he is unhappy with that, he can recover the compensation amount from the manufacturer. However, as far as the consumer is concerned, he will be held fully liable.
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