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Safety is a big concern for automakers. Most are striving to achieve a maximum star rating on a global safety level. While most premium cars feature a host of safety features as add-ons, airbags have become a standard offering on most, if not all cars.
True that may be, there is always a small chance that some safety features fail in the real world. That's exactly what happened with a Mr. Abhaykumar Jain of Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Abhaykumar bought a premium hatchback in 2010. On July 12, 2011, while still under warranty, the car met with an accident. It hit a stone and rolled on to its roof. The insurance company paid Mr. Jain Rs 2.75 lakh as compensation towards a total loss.
Jain wanted either the manufacturer of the deal to refund the price he paid for the car, or to replace the car. His claim was that the safety system was faulty, and the airbags did not deploy. He approached the Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum, Ahmedabad (additional), claiming the vehicle had a defect, and it was this defect that caused the airbags to fail. He also sought Rs 35,000 towards legal costs and mental agony.
The car manufacturer did not accept the court's notice. The dealer however, opposed the complaint and said there could be many reasons for the airbags failing to deploy. He claimed the Jain was not in the car so he could not confirm of the driver had a seatbelt on, and the deployment of airbags depended on the speed of the vehicle. The car-dealer also took the opinion of the insurance surveyor, who was a mechanical engineer (it is claimed that that only an automobile engineer can give a definite opinion of car accidents). The mechanical engineer concluded that the airbag did not deploy because of manufacturing defects.
The consumer court stated that reason for the malfunction could not be established because of the absence of an automobile engineer. It revoked Jain's claim and said that there was no proof of a manufacturing defect, so there was no question of replacing the hatchback or refunding costs. In addition, the court found unfair trade practice by the company (because the accident happened during warranty) and settled at a compensation of Rs 2 lakh, and an additional Rs 50,000 for legal expenses and mental agony experienced by Jain.
Source Credits—Times Of India
What We Think Of This Situation
Welcome to the courts of India. Poor Mr. Jain. He had to wait 8 years for closure. We hope he bought another car and hope he does not have to test the airbag features on it.