Thursday, December 27, 2007

Damaged car: family to seek legal action against dealer

Damaged car: family to seek legal action against dealer

S.Anil Radhakrishnan

To ensure that customers are not taken for a ride

Accident repair claim documents found in the newly-delivered car

Dealer puts it down to clerical error


Thiruvananthapuram: The family which was delivered a Hyundai Santro car that was seriously damaged in transit six months ago as ‘brand new’, has decided to fight against the leading car dealer legally to ensure that customers are not taken for a ride.

The fraud on the part of the car dealer, having a showroom in Karamana, came to light after Neelakanta Pillai, a retired orthopaedic surgeon, got the accident repair claim documents from the newly-delivered car. In fact, the dynasty red coloured car was a gift from his daughter Parvathy.

The ‘brand new car’ was delivered on December 22 around 9 p.m. from the showroom to 74-year-old Dr. Pillai. “The ride from Popular Hyundai’s showroom to our home in Kannammoola was uncomfortable and the power steering of the vehicle was stiff. The rear wheels were wobbling and the AC was not working,” recalls Ms. Parvathy. On reporting the matter to the car dealer that night itself, Ms. Parvathy said they were informed that it will be looked into on Monday.

However, Dr. Pillai found lack of varnish on the roof and some parts of the bonnet on inspecting the vehicle the next day. A close look of the car by Dr. Pillai revealed rusted key-insertion rounds, holes in the boot door and an inside fibre of the boot door that was left unscrewed on one side.

According to Ms. Parvathy, they came to know about the fraud with the recovery of the papers from the back seat. The vehicle identification number and the engine number in the claim paper were exactly the same as those on the sales invoice. The car was temporarily registered as the family was looking for a fancy number.

The copy of the papers made available to The Hindu reveals that the accident involving the car took place on June 9 this year. The engine, engine sump, rear brakes, rear axles, rear suspension, A.C., two doors and their glasses, front and rear bumpers, silencers, head lights and rim of the wheel were among those replaced.

“By God’s grace we found the repair order, else they would have successfully palmed off a defective car to us and made a profit on it,” says Ms. Parvathy. Along with the Santro XL, the family had booked another high-end version in exchange for another Santro.

According to her, the company had admitted the mistake and has offered a high-end version for another Rs. 22,000. “What would have happened if the repair order was not found? We have decided to reject the offer and to fight it out legally to ensure that customers are not taken for a ride,” she said.

The family has already petitioned Hyundai and is in touch with the officials. The car has also been shifted to a safer place.

Dealer’s version

When contacted, the manager of the car-dealer said “it happened due to clerical error as the person assigned for allotment of the car was on leave. The lady who was in the seat was new to the job.”

“The car was damaged in transit and we had kept it in the yard. It was marked as damaged in the register, but it could not be blocked in the system. As the customer insisted on delivery on Saturday itself, the lady allotted the car,” he added.

© Copyright 2000 - 2007 The Hindu

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THE HINDU

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