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A Consumer fights back

 Survival Life is a battle ground where we have to fight our own personal battles. Some for ourselves , some for our dear ones and some maybe for something which we believe with a passion. It may be for our ideals, our goals, our own selfish ends whatever it be we are always in war constantly. Some right and some maybe- wrong.  We are the common man and most of such issues may seem trivial, but to the individual it must have been a moment of reckoning, a moment of introspection, a difficult trying time. But each leaving a great impact in our life in its wake. I am starting these series with all support from my editor and good friend Rajan hoping that such stories of small battles but big impact, may help you somewhere in your own journey and in your own fight for a just cause. Though I am starting these series with an account of my own legal battle in consumer court, I call upon you to continue the thread of these series with your own personal accounts, where we can share important facts and information along with offering our support for each other.

So on to my story. Not earth shattering but here I am dealing with a common problem that we face – What do we do when the costly home appliance breaks down after 5 months and the company does nothing to repair it. Yes! With much hope and plenty of smiles we had purchased a washing machine on 7/10/05 which had a warranty of 2 years but we had still taken up the annual maintenance contract for the next 2 years. Everything was fine until on 12/06/06, then the machine stopped functioning. We had given a call to the helpline but no technician visited even after 48 hrs. After repeated calling, a technician came. He checked it and promised to come with the front door lock of the machine the next day. He failed to return. My gut feeling told me that this was not going the right way. I had three choices. Go on cribbing at their helpline and continue this mouse game with no results or forget everything and purchase another machine. The third option was .YES THEY WERE WRONG AND I AM GOING TO FIGHT THIS OUT if needed the right way. So i started keeping proper records of date and time of the reminders. Then followed it up with e-mails to have a written record. In the record I mentioned everything lucidly with also the option we had to undertake if their callous attitude continued and giving them ample time to react. Though initially they made half hearted attempts to pacify us but they stopped taking us seriously after two three exchanges and altogether stopped responding.( well this is something that happens quite often. When we say that or patience is running out, they  test your patience further)

Internet is a great boon. At first we reported at the CORE (Consumer Online Resource & Empowerment Center). The government consumer forum. Though they try to intervene but nothing much was done nor much happened. (in other words don’t pin all your hopes on it). Then I came across this organization-ICRPC (International Consumer Rights Protection Council), a Mumbai based organization which offered legal advice and help at a minimal price. Their website is and I found them very professional , sincere and very much true to their word. They guided me on how to proceed in such a matter. And also prepared my legal documents for submission in the court. Even after sending a legal notice to the whirlpool they did not respond. So we had no other option but to fight our case at the state consumer court. Would you believe it? We won the case without hiring a lawyer. All throughout ICRPC guided us and prepared all our papers and all these through the medium of the internet. No phone calls , no personal meeting but still so effective.Though we were a bit apprehensive of the number of appearances we may have to make and the period of trial( remember Sunny Deol’s tarikh pe Tarikh from Damini)  The case lasted for two year and we had made about 10 to 12 appearances I guess. Finally everything was settled after we received our refund, the experience behind us, our faith in the Judiciary upheld.

Life was finally one battle less.

Editor’s note: If you have won a battle in life share it with us. It can be of any nature. A battle against corruption, a battle against a system, a battle within, a battle against a disease, a battle against a shortcoming. Share it with us, even a small battle won can inspire others. There is a story within each of us to be told.

0 04 February, 2010 Survivors February 4, 2010

About the author

She is a Doctor by profession , working in Delhi. Loves traveling, mind games and playing with words… And also the chief-co brewer of GingerChai. She is the chief brewer of some of the interesting categories you see in GingerChai. Follow @manishalsam

View all articles by Mani Padma


  1. Ambi


    Spending 2 years on this case for a refund? I would have gone and intimidated (don’t even have to try 😉 ) the service center manager and made him pee in his pants when the guy didn’t show up as promised!

    Then again, I do not know which store you purchased it from, which service center you were in touch with and all…


    1. mani

      of course I don’t doubt your intimidating capabilities. :-)) But No matter how similar phonetically MP is to MB(Ambi), MP isn’t Ambi, so Mp just decided to patiently wait for 2 years

      1. Ambi

        Well, point was you could had hired some 2 guys, thrashed one guy… :rotfl:

        apart from being physically intimidating, I also happen to be a project manager, which means I do damage control so often that its second nature to me.

        (Also, I could probably talk someone to boredom, even.)

        But one situation where I really did intimidate one guy was this: I had to get a DD for Rs.80 (some stupid RTO stuff) and I went to the nearby Andhra Bank. One 50yr old guy at the counter was making himself look very busy and when I handed over the challan to him after paying Rs.100 (Rs.20 was processing fees. Burglars.), he looked sideways and said “come back after an hour!”.

        I just looked him in his eyes, and said “Excuse me, but I don’t have an hour to wait. This hardly would take you 5 mins, max 15mins. Now, we are all busy people and I don’t want to lecture to you for 10mins on how this bank’s customer service sucks. So, please issue the DD in 15mins, or let me know if I have to talk to the manager to get a simple DD, for which I have already paid for”.

        5 mins. DD in hand. Voila!

  2. Alka

    Many of us (including me) just give up and take things for granted. Really nice to know that you patiently fought back and won the case. Inspring.

    Good addition to GingerChai >> The survivor series. You guys are rocking. Love it. :chic:

    P.s I LOVE THIS NEW SET OF SMILEYS!!! :evilgrin: O:-) :soldier: :rose:

    1. mani

      Thanks Alka..for…liking everything about Ginger Chai. I wish we had some award for the most loyal and sweetest fan of GC. Just stay with us and observe us, I assure you, you will turn into a Virago 😉

  3. Sanchit Goyal

    Hmmm nice….

    I can somewhat relate to your story. I am fighting a similar case now against RELIANCE BIG TV. It has already been more than 1 year and now the final hearing is on 22nd feb. Fingers crossed. Lets see how it goes.

    1. mani

      Everything will work out fine. Dont worry. Our best wishes are with you. If you need any info, feel free to contact us or me

      1. Sanchit Goyal

        Hey thnx a lot for remembering the date and enquiring on my blog. I didnt had your email address so replying here.

        Their lawyer didnt arrive on 22nd feb so he was fined Rs. 1000/- which was later reduced to Rs. 500/- on his request.

        I argued the case well on the next date but unfortunately the case was dismissed on the base that “according to recent Supreme court judgement telecommunication cases are outside the purvue of Consumer courts! ”

        It seems that the judge didnt read the points submitted by me!

        Also I had 2 basic complaints. 1.) Wrong plan was activated on 1 connection. 2.) 2 connections never worked.

        The judge in district court didnt even talk about the 2nd point in his verdict. So when I appealed in State commission I specifically highlighted the 2nd point and it was the base point of the case. But surprisingly the judge again completlely ommitted this point from the judgement!!!!

        So its basically not the verdict but the way in which verdict is given is disappointing and makes me wonder if there is some sort of nexus in between.

        I am thinking of filing a RTI query to know how many cases were filed against Reliance in last 1 year and how many of them were dismissed.

        As far as this particular case is concerned sadly my experience was not as pleasant as yours. But at the end of day I can say that I atleast tried and to end I would like to quote few lines from Bhagwad Geeta-

        Karmanye vadhi karaste mafaleshu kadachan (do your karma or action or duty without getting attached to the fruits)

  4. chetan

    well,,i didn’t fight a battle like this with any body, but yes I once used that word Consumer Forum, to the local mobile service shop, for the services which he should pay.
    but as I used that word, at that very instant, I got my money back

  5. Divya

    Where there is a will, there is a way! One of my father’s friend fought with a mobile company thru consumer court and got the reund 😀 & myself and Rajan had lodged a complaint for one of the internet service providers when inspite of repeated follow ups nothing happened. Those ppl called back immediately once we lodged online complain :rotfl: , it is a different thing that we disconnected ‘cos the speed was poor……..but i guess if we take a stand and believe in what we do, we surely can find out a way O:-)

  6. Sowmya Suresh

    My list of consumer product manufacturers who have given me a raw deal is so long..I’d have to make suing them my full time activity.

    1. Citibank – Came of all fours to open my savings account and then stalled opening my Demat in spite of reminders/emails and all documents submitted

    2. ICICI bank – never ever handles a request properly be it a request for change of address or new cheque books or credit card cancellation.

    3. Airtel – don’t even get me started!

    4 HSBC – Oh those credit card people! Harassed me over the phone for months saying I did not make a payment even though I did and even sent them the proof.I contacted ICRPC then. Yes they are good. I did not have to visit the court. HSBC even sent back an ‘excess’ billed amount which I had overlooked!!

    5. Whirlpool Washing Machine – Same problem as yours. Had to exchange it for another brand.

    6. HDFC Bank – Will not allow me to close a bank account I have with them. Their excuse- I have to get a letter from the manager of another branch where I have a locker saying I have closed it. My argument – I cannot travel to another city when all they have to do is pick up the phone and get a confirmation or even get it done by email!! (Absolutely ridiculous)

    List keeps going on.. Don’t want to keep ranting here!! Sorry!!

  7. Usha

    You actually went to court for a washing machine? Wow…The idea to actually fight it out over the warranty issue would hardly cross my mind :s.

    I’m rather impressed!.

    An awesome idea for a series.
    Does ‘Battle against Procrastinating’ count ? >.<


  8. Arun Saxena

    Hi, This is Arun Saxena, President of International Consumer Rights Protection Council (ICRPC). I happen to read the story “A consumer fights back” and was touched by the kind gesture of the writer to acknowledge my efforts of helping the writer to fight the case in the consumer court. I should in fact appreciate the time and energy with which the writer took the opposite party to task and won the battle.
    If we all Indians start to confront the corrupt, I am sure we will at least be able to arrest the corruption at the current stage, instead of letting it grow.

    I take this opportunity to warn the site visitors about the Country Club of India Ltd., a fraud company that operates from Bangalore.

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