A couple of days ago, a representative of a home electronics company told me about an angry customer who had locked him up in a bathroom for two hours. That really aroused my curiosity. “What was the provocation?” I asked him.
This was what he said: The lady had bought a washing machine from a factory ‘seconds’ store — these stores usually sell products that are dented during transportation and sell them at a discount. Once the machine was delivered, the company representative visited her house, installed the machine and started it. The lady even put some clothes into the machine, but within minutes, her bathroom was flooded with soap water flowing from the machine. Investigations soon found that the machine’s drum was broken. If that was not bad enough, what the representative said next got her seething with anger. He told her that since she had bought it at a ‘seconds’ outlet, she had to pay for a new drum, besides hefty service charges for fixing it. The lady was so enraged that she locked him up in the bathroom and walked out of the house.
The factual position is that even if you have bought ‘seconds’ you have a right to a fair deal and redress of your complaint. Even a product labelled as ‘seconds’ should be (a) of merchantable quality, (b) fit for the purpose for which it is sold and (c) usable. Even more important, the product should fit the description or the assurances about the quality made by the dealer. The machine here obviously failed the test.
Kusum Bhatia: Recently, I bought a refrigerator for Rs 22,000 from a retailer who sells factory seconds. At the time of purchase, the retailer assured me that the refrigerator was in perfect condition, except for a couple of small dents on the body and that I would be entitled to the warranty. However, when it was installed, I found that the refrigerator was not working and the company representative who was called said the compressor was not working and I have to pay for a new compressor as I had bought this at a ‘seconds’ outlet. Is this the correct position?
Answer: First and foremost, the retailer assured you that the refrigerator was in perfect condition except for the few dents on the body. However, in reality, what he has sold is a refrigerator with a defective compressor. So the retailer is not only guilty of unfair trade practice for misleading you about the quality of the product, but also of selling a defective product.
So do not pay for the compressor, ask the retailer to take back the defective refrigerator and replace it, free of cost with a defect-free refrigerator and give you a proper warranty card as promised. I would suggest that you write to the company too and complain about this. If they fail to redress your complaint, you will have to seek the intervention of the consumer court.