Man sues Ford India dealer over ‘31 kmpl’ ad, top court slams brake
A Ford dealer had recently been directed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) to pay a complainant ₹7.43 after he had pointed to deficiency in service over a ‘misleading’ advertisement which claimed the car returns an average of 31 kilometres to a lire of fuel. The Supreme Court, however, set aside the order of NCDRC.
A complaint had been filed with the District Forum in which it was stated that Ford India had put up advertisements in national newspapers claiming a mileage of 31.4 kmpl. The complainant, however, said that the Ford Fiesta he purchased from AB Motors Pvt Limited in Dehradun had a mileage of around 15 to 16 kmpl. As such, the OEM and the dealer had been directed to pay the complainant ₹7.43 lakh once the said vehicle was returned.
This had led to Ford India filing an appeal before the State Commission but this had been dismissed while NCDRC allowed the revision petition. This even as the onus on paying the compensation amount fell on the dealer.
The matter eventually reached the country's apex court and a two-judge bench stated that the NCDRC has recorded a finding that the alleged misleading advertisement was issued on June 20, 2007. It was also noted that the complainant, however, had purchased his car around three months prior to this, that is on March 9 of 2007.
The Supreme Court also stated that the interest of the dealers cannot be independent of the vehicle manufacturer.
It is important to note here that the mileage figures often claimed by almost every manufacturer in the passenger vehicle and two-wheeler space is the absolute highest that the said vehicle is capable of. The real world figures are almost always less than these claims because of a range of factors that affect mileage in the real world. Even ARAI-certified mileage figures may best be used as a reference point as tests are conducted in controlled scenarios.
(With inputs from PTI)