A city-based consumer forum has penalised a private financial services company, which had seized a car without issuing notice to a person who had borrowed money to buy the vehicle. The forum has directed Mahindra and Mahindra Financial Services Ltd., a non-banking finance company, to pay Rs.2.73 lakh to its borrower. The 3 Additional Bangalore urban District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has issued the direction acting on a complaint filed by Paramesh S.

The forum held that the company, besides failing to demonstrate its claim that it had issued notices to the complainant, was also “silent” on the “secret” manner in which it had sold the car to recover the amount due to it. Since the company failed to provide details to the forum, its members said: “It has to be inferred that the company has either not sold the vehicle or has sold it clandestinely for a lesser price.”

The actions of the company had deprived the complainant of his vehicle which may have been sold illegally without intimating him, the forum said.

The forum directed the company to pay Rs.2.73 lakh to the complainant with 12 per cent interest per annum from February 2013.

The complainant had purchased the car by borrowing Rs.4.95 lakh from the company in October 2011, and he had to repay the loan amount in 36 equated monthly instalments (EMIs) starting from October 5, 2011. While he had paid the EMIs regularly for 11 months (i.e. till November 5, 2011), he could not do so for the subsequent three months.

The company had seized vehicle from the complainant in February 2012. Later, the company did not respond to him even though he offered to pay all the remaining EMIs, telling him that they had already sold the vehicle. However, the complainant subsequently discovered that the vehicle continued to be registered in his name, contrary to the company’s claims.

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