Mere perceptional prejudice cannot form ground for alleging deficiency in service, a city consumer forum ruled recently while dismissing the complaint filed by two Khar residents. The complainants, Dr Santosh Bulchandani and his father Kamal sought compensation claiming that the USA-branded Tommy Hilfiger watch purchased was not genuine since it was manufactured in China.
The Bulchandanis purchased the watch from Linking Road branch of Shoppers Stop in July 2007 for Rs5,500. In May 2008, when they went to another shop for replacing the battery, the watchmaker told them that though the machine was Swiss made, the other parts of the watch and the body was made in China.
Doubting genuineness of the branded watch, the Khar residents took up the issue with both Shoppers Stop and Titan Industries Ltd., the exclusive dealer for Tommy Hilfiger. When the retailer as well as the dealer refused to buy their argument, the duo approached the Mumbai Suburban District Consumer Forum.
The Bulchandanis sought compensation alleging that the retailer and the dealer indulged in unfair trade practice by concealing material fact that the watch was made in China.
The father-son duo also alleged that though Tommy Hilfiger was a US brand, no part of the watch was made in America. They further contended that no China made product would command the goodwill or price as any genuine American brand.
Titan Industries argued that due to various economic requirements, manufacturing and assembling activities had been outsourced by Tommy Hilfiger and there was neither any defect in the watch nor any deficiency in service on their part.
The bench, comprising forum president JL Deshpande and member DS Bidnurkar, found fault with the mindset of the complainants, and not with the watch or the service. “They believe all products manufactured in China are substandard or of low quality,” the bench observed, adding, “It appears that the complainants carry the impression that to possess China-made article is a stigma.”
“We find that the grievances of the complainants are outcome of perceptional prejudice,” the forum noted, adding it does not fit in relevant sections of the Consumer Protection Act.