A Consumer fights back
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 www.icrpc.org 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.