The Dakshina Kannada District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has asked a private firm and its dealer in Uppinangady here to replace a defective refrigerator with extended warranty and pay compensation of Rs. 5,000 and litigation cost of Rs. 1,000 to a consumer.

Jayakrishna Gowda Shirady of Puttur taluk, running a hotel and a Nandini milk distribution agency, purchased the refrigerator from a dealer in Uppinangady in October, 2007 for Rs. 12,300. The refrigerator had a one-year warranty, a five-year warranty for the compressor, and a 10-year rust protection plan for the body. The refrigerator door rusted by the 14th day of purchase. The company did not take any action when this was brought to its notice. The compressor stopped working in July 2009. Barring the first call, there was no response to several complaints made by the customer. The company maintained that there was no manufacturing defect and that compressor had been replaced free of cost and alleged that there was a mishandling.

It was alleged that in spite of the warranty, the opposite parties — Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Company Ltd. and the dealer in Uppinangady — demanded Rs. 3,000 for the repair of the compressor. The company, however, did not produce documentary proof to show that the compressor was replaced. The complainant alleged that the compressor had not been replaced. “The entire burden lies on the opposite parties to prove …that the compressor has been replaced and the refrigerator is in working condition,” the forum, headed by Asha K. Shetty, said. The company had sought to levy a service charge of Rs. 400. “The opposite parties have no right to collect service charges when the defects in the refrigerator surfaced within the warranty period”, the forum said. It asked the parties to pay Rs. 5,000 as compensation to the complainant, and Rs. 1,000 as litigation costs.

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