In order to protect the interests of consumers and force cell phone manufacturers to take responsibility for the products they sell, the department of telecommunication needs to take two urgent initiatives:
(1) Formulate stringent quality standards for the after-sales service provided by manufacturers and (2) Force manufacturers to provide an independent and effective mechanism for quick redress of consumer complaints about cell phones.
The industry's response to consumer complaints is highly lackadaisical. Even when it is obvious the cell phone suffers from inherent manufacturing defects and cannot be repaired, the manufacturer refuses to give a replacement or a refund. The absence of an independent and effective system of in-house redress only makes matters worse.
Question by Mr Amit Arora: I purchased a dual GSM GSM mobile phone on March 14 last year. It did not work properly even for a month. Since the shop also serves as a service centre, I showed them the mobile four to five times, but every time it was not repairedwell. In the middle of June, one GSM stopped working completely. Eight months have gone by and the shop has neither returned my set given for repairs nor refunding my money, despite many. In fact they abused me and threw me out of the shop.
Answer: Consumer courts these days do not take kindly to such behaviour and award compensation for the humiliation caused to the consumer too (in addition to the financial loss and inconvenience).
In the case of B.L.Sood vs Delhi Transport Corporation (RP No 115 of 2006) the National Commission made it clear that even 'rude, rough and uncivilized' behaviour would constitute deficient service and a consumer at the receiving end of such service is entitled to compensation.
Write to the service centre asking them to either replace your mobile or give you a full refund with interest. Meanwhile, you could also send in your complaint online to the CORE (Consumer Online Resource and empowerment) Centre (www.ccccore.co.in).
If you fail to get redress here, file a complaint before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum and name both the retailer/service centre and the manufacturer as the opposite parties. You have a strong case here — the manufacturer and the retailer are guilty of selling a defective mobile and then providing a deficient after-sales service.
You can also complain of unfair trade practice since the product did not conform to the claims made by the manufacturer.
The consumer court will not only direct the manufacturer/retailer to give you a refund, but also compensation and cost of litigation. It can also impose punitive damages.
Do you have any problems? Send in your queries to