Samsonite - Handle With Care - Part 2
DELHI -- NEW DELHI, FEB. 9. This was a suitcase that was certainly not meant to `travel' as a Delhiite learned the hard way. Having bought the suitcase from Samsonite, the last thing that Madhu Talwar expected was that it would crack on its first journey.
Determined to get back the money she thought she deserved, she fought a four-year-long battle in a consumer court. The district consumer disputes redressal forum now has held Samsonite responsible for the quality of material used and directed it to replace the suitcase or refund Rs. 6,200 at 9 per cent interest.
In its defense, Samsonite argued that the suitcase got damaged as the carrier mishandled it and the guarantee card specifically states that if any damage is caused due to misuse, neglect or mishandling by a carrier, the guarantee will not apply.
It further stated that the guarantee cover is only applicable if there is a defect in material and workmanship. The guarantee does not cover any damage caused by misuse, defect, accident or damage by a common carrier, the company submitted. And since Ms. Talwar stated that her suitcase got cracked on the way back from her trip abroad, her complaint should be dismissed, the company argued.
Ms. Talwar in her version said that the suitcase could only crack due to poor quality of material used by the manufacturer or due to a manufacturing defect. It could have not happened only because she travelled by air. She also alleged that she approached the dealer as well as the company to replace the suitcase, but they both agreed to get it replaced at her cost.
After going through all the evidence, a bench of the district consumer disputes redressal forum presided by member Janak Juneja observed that there was no deficiency in service against the dealer. However, in the case of Samsonite there is no denial in the sale of the suitcase and the company has not refuted that the suitcase was cracked. "Their plea is that the said cracks developed during air travel by Ms. Talwar. However, we are unable to be convinced by the argument that the cracks on the suitcase developed due to mishandling by the air carrier and that too during the first visit. The development of cracks is definitely linked to the quality of the material and the workmanship,'' the bench stated.
Therefore, it held the company responsible and directed it to either replace the suitcase or refund Rs. 6,200, the cost of the suitcase at 9 per cent interest. The company was also asked to pay Rs. 1,000 towards costs of litigation.