R. Ranjit : Member
Opposite party in C.C. No. 177/2013 has filed this appeal against the Order dated 30.10.2014 passed by the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Kasaragod, by which the district forum directed the opposite party to pay a sum of Rs. 87,000/- with cost of Rs. 3,000/- to the complainant.
2. Brief facts of the case as per the complaint are that the complainant Dineshan is the driver cum owner of the vehicle bearing Reg. No. KL 60 B -7500 Sumo Grande Taxi. Complainant is a regular customer of opposite party for the purpose of repairing the vehicle. On completion of 90496 KM on 02.05.2012 some repair work was done in respect of bearing, oil filter etc. The timing belt was replaced on 01.03.2013 as the same was broken into pieces. On 28.04.2013 night when the vehicle was coming from Kollur to Kanhangad with passengers and reached near CPCRI the vehicle suddenly stopped and could not be moved at all as the timing belt was completely broken into pieces and the water pump started leaking. Complainant contacted opposite party and requested to repair the vehicle. Usually the timing belt lasts till the vehicle completes one lakh KMs but here the damage occurred after running only 7000 KMs, within 2 months of repair and replacement of timing belt. Therefore the complainant requested opposite party to repair the vehicle free of cost. Opposite party agreed to do the repair free of labour charges only and refused to provide free spare parts. The vehicle was taken to the authorized show room of TATA Motors by towing and repair work was done by spending Rs.52,000/-. The complainant alleged deficiency in service on the part of opposite party as the repair work done on 01.03.2013 was incorrect and improper so as to cause breaking of timing belt of the vehicle after running only 7000 KMs instead of 1 lakh KMs.
3. Opposite party filed version denying all allegations in the complaint and stated that all customers are provided with owner’s manual and service book prescribing the service to be carried out by the owner from time to time. Life of the vehicle is totally depended on the service schedule being maintained by the customer. Timely maintenance and servicing as recommended in this manual assures trouble free operation over the said period. Performance guarantee of the vehicle ceases when a scheduled service recommended by the manufacturer in the service is missed. Due to the long gap between services the wear and tear damage to the engine parts caused further repeated complaints. The timing belt works by touching the crankpulley, water pump, auto tensioner, cam gear touch idler and HP pumpsider. Therefore the life of the timing belt depends upon the capacity of the above mentioned parts of the engine. The non-functioning of any of the item above mentioned shall cause breakage of timing belt. Moreover, opposite party has advised the customer to rush to the workshop on hearing any abnormal noise or completing 5000 KMs for a further checkup which the customer ignored. The timing belt can also be broken due to the high pressure pump malfunctions. When the timing belt was replaced at opposite party’s work shop, only the water pump which caused the timing belt complaint was replaced. The opposite party is not liable for the expenses incurred by the complainant towards registering complaint, towing charges etc. since it happened due to the gross negligence of the complainant and availed the service of some other workshop.
4. Evidence consisted of oral testimony of complainant as PW1 and his witness as PW2. Exts. A1 to A12 were marked on his side. One document produced by the opposite party was marked through the complainant as Ext. B1 and other two documents produced by the opposite party were marked through his witness as Exts. B2 & B3. Opposite party was examined as DW1.
5. The lower forum appreciating the materials produced came to the conclusion that the repair works of the complainant’s vehicle done at the opposite party’s service centre was defective, consequent to which the complainant was again dragged to another service of his vehicle for which he had incurred an amount of Rs. 52,000/- as repair charges. The forum on the basis of this conclusion has passed the impugned order. Aggrieved by this order opposite party has filed this appeal.
6. The learned counsel for the appellant contended that the complainant had taken long gap between the services of his vehicle and that caused wear and tear damage to engine parts which caused further repeated complaints of the vehicle. The timing belt works by touching crank pulley, water pump, auto tensioner, cam gear touch idler and HP pumpsider. Therefore the life of the timing belt depends upon the capacity of the above mentioned parts of the engine. PW2, the service personnel of the other service centre, had categorically stated that fitment of timing belt by the opposite party was proper and the timing belt will be broken if it is not properly fixed, within a span of 100 to 500 meters of running of the vehicle. Here the vehicle ran more than 7000 kms. Moreover opposite party has advised the customer to rush to the workshop on hearing any abnormal noise or completing 5000 km for further check-up but the complainant did not heed this instruction. Complainant is at fault for the break down and the opposite party is not liable for the same.
7. The learned counsel for the respondent on the contrary submitted that even though there was a gap of 30000 km for each service, the repair on 01.03.2013 and the consequent break down on completion of 7000 km cannot be attributed to the complainant in not giving the vehicle for service on completion of 5000 kms. A vehicle can run trouble free for 30000 kms. Admittedly the life of timing belt of the vehicle is one lakh km. Services were carried keeping a gap of more than 5000 kms and there were no defects to any parts at that time. It was the duty of the opposite party to set right and repair the vehicle in trouble free condition, at least for another 7500 kms, and the break down at 7000 km is mainly attributable to the incorrect and defective repair of the opposite party. He contended that there is clear case of deficiency in service on the part of opposite party and prays for dismissal of the appeal.
8. We have considered the arguments advanced by both counsel and perused the documents.
9. Perusing Exts. A1 to A12 it can be seen that the complainant has carried out service after a long gap of 12000 kms. Such a long duration between the services caused wear and tear which caused repeated complaints. It is admitted that on 28.04.2013 vehicle was given to the opposite party’s service centre and by that the time the vehicle has covered 126883 km. From Ext. A2 and B1 it can be seen that on 01.03.2013 the opposite party has replaced timing belt and water pump and they carried out some other repairs. From Ext. B1 it can be seen that the opposite party has advised the complainant to rush to the workshop on hearing any abnormal noise or on completing 50000 kms for further repair. This is admitted by the complainant. It is also admitted that the complainant did not act as per the instruction given by the opposite party. He did not give any explanation for the same. The service engineer of the other service centre where the vehicle was serviced, on break down, gave oral evidence to the effect that fitment of the timing belt was proper and that if it was not properly fitted it would have broken within a span of 100 to 500 meters. Here admittedly the vehicle has run 7000 kms. He had further deposed that there was no problem in the water pump which was replaced by opposite party and that it was intact. He also admitted the fact that, as canvassed by the opposite party, the timing belt works by touching crank pulley, water pump, auto tensioner, cam gear touch idler and HP pumpsider. He further stated that these parts, other than the HP pump and timing belt were not having any problem at the time of break down. He also admitted that failure of any of the above mentioned parts shall cause breakage of timing belt. Hence from Ext. A1 it can be concluded that timing belt was broken only due to the fault of high pressure pump, as stated by the opposite party.
10. From the above it can be found that there is no fault or imperfection in the service carried out by the opposite party at their service centre. The lower forum completely erred in the finding that the service carried out by the opposite party is defective and awarded Rs. 52,000/- as repair charges. This finding is erroneous which is to be set aside.
11. However on going through the version of the opposite party it is averred that the timing belt works by touching crank pulley, water pump, auto tensioner, cam gear touch idler and HP pumpsider. As per Ext. A2 (bill for service done by the opposite party) they have replaced the timing belt and the water pump but they did not check other parts. They have not given any explanation as to why the other parts were not checked or repaired. This may be the reason the opposite party was so cautious enough to advice the complainant to rush to the workshop on hearing any abnormal noise or on completing 5000 kms for further repair. This admittedly shows that that the opposite party was not sure as to the working condition of other vital parts. It is clear from Ext. A1 that the timing belt and high pressure pump was broken and it is replaced. The timing belt was broken within a short span of vehicle running 7000 km whereas admittedly it would have run 100000 km, if other parts were intact. True the complainant did not act as per the instruction given by the opposite party. He has also not given any explanation for the same. But it does not absolve the opposite party from liability.
12. The act/omission on the part of the opposite party in not checking and repairing other vital parts, at the time of service on 01.03.2013 as stated above is clear case of deficiency of service for which the complainant is to be compensated. The lower forum has awarded Rs. 25,000/- on this ground. But since the complainant is also at fault the amount of compensation is to be reduced. We feel just and proper to award an amount of Rs. 20,000/- towards compensation for deficiency of service on the part of the opposit
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e party. As stated above the complainant had to change the timing belt within a short span of time, and so he is also entitled to get refund of Rs. 2,000/-, the cost of the timing belt. The District Forum awarded Rs. 3,000/- as cost of the proceedings for which no interference is called for. In the light of the above discussions we modify the order as follows: 1. Opposite party is directed to pay Rs. 20,000/- as compensation to the complainant. 2. Opposite party is also directed to pay Rs. 2,000/- towards the cost of the timing belt. 3. Opposite party is directed to pay Rs. 3,000/- as cost. 4. Direction of the district forum to pay an amount of Rs. 52,000/- as repair charge is set aside. In the result, appeal is partly allowed as indicated above. The respondent/complainant can realize the amount of Rs. 25,000/- ordered as compensation, cost of the timing belt and cost from the statutory amount of Rs. 25,000/- deposited by the appellant at the time of institution of the appeal, on filing proper application. Parties are directed to suffer their respective costs.