Judge­ments from con­sumer fo­rums across India

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• Breast re­duc­tion can­not al­ways be cos­metic surgery A con­sumer court in Ahmedabad has dis­missed an in­sur­ance com­pany’s ar­gu­ment that breas­tre­duc­tion surgery is in­vari­ably cos­metic. The court or­dered the in­sur­ance com­pany, which had de­nied a 55-year-old woman’s claim, to pay all costs for the mam­mo­plasty she had un­der­gone. The woman had in­curred med­i­cal costs amount­ing to Rs 1.64 lakh, and the court or­dered the amount be paid in full, along with Rs 5,000 to­wards men­tal ha­rass­ment and le­gal costs.

Af­ter go­ing through the sum­mary of the med­i­cal case of the pe­ti­tioner, the court learnt that she was ad­vised to get a breast-re­duc­tion surgery done as she suf­fered con­stant back and shoul­der pain due to ab­nor­mally sag­ging breasts. On the other hand, the in­sur­ers pointed out an ex­cep­tion clause in the pol­icy say­ing ‘cir­cum­ci­sion, cos­metic aes­thetic treat­ment, plas­tic surgery unless re­quired to treat any in­jury or ill­ness’ are not in­sured. The court held that in this par­tic­u­lar case the in­sur­ers had mis­in­ter­preted the ex­cep­tion clause and com­mit­ted se­ri­ous lapse in ser­vice and also engaged in un­fair trade prac­tice. • Rs 12,000 com­pen­sa­tion for hav­ing to pay Rs 21 ex­tra A res­i­dent of Ben­galuru has been awarded a com­pen­sa­tion of Rs 12,000 by the con­sumer court. The de­ci­sion comes over a year af­ter the man ap­proached the court com­plain­ing of un­fair trade prac­tice.

As per a re­port in the Times of India, Raghaven­dra, who hails from the city’s Cot­ton­pet area, had pur­chased a one-litre bot­tle of Kin­ley min­eral wa­ter in De­cem­ber 2015 from GS En­ter­prises in Royal Meenakshi Mall. As per the com­plaint, he was charged Rs 40 for the bot­tle in­stead of its max­i­mum re­tail price of Rs 19. Claim­ing he had pur­chased a sim­i­lar wa­ter bot­tle from an­other store at Rs 19, he ap­proached the con­sumer court along with rel­e­vant bills al­leg­ing that the shop­keeper and Coca-Cola had jointly con­spired to cheat cus­tomers. • Rs 60,000 fine on Maruti for deny­ing re­pair in war­ranty A Delhi con­sumer court asked Maruti to com­pen­sate Bal­bir Singh Rs 50,000 for ha­rass­ment. Singh’s car was fac­ing the prob­lem of hy­dro­static lock – a con­di­tion in the car caused by en­try of wa­ter in­side the en­gine – and Maruti had re­fused to re­pair the same un­der war­ranty, stat­ing that Singh had driven in a wa­ter­logged area.

The coun­sel for Maruti Suzuki told the court that the dam­age in the ve­hi­cle was the re­sult of driv­ing the car neg­li­gently and that the same could not be cov­ered in the war­ranty pe­riod. In fact, a cost es­ti­mate of Rs 80,000 was given to Singh to re­pair the hy­dro lock prob­lem.

On its part, the court ob­served that the man­u­fac­turer had not men­tioned in its list of terms and con­di­tions that the ve­hi­cle should not be driven in wa­ter­logged ar­eas. “In case of sud­den ex­ces­sive rain and con­se­quen­tial wa­ter­log­ging in the area, the con­sumer is not ex­pected to leave the ve­hi­cle in the mid­dle of the road and to swim in the road. The man­u­fac­turer, while man­u­fac­tur­ing the prod­uct, is un­der a duty to safe­guard the in­ter­est of con­sumer of the ve­hi­cle in such con­di­tions and to in­stall safety de­vices in the ve­hi­cle. It is also un­der a duty to pro­vide free-of-charges re­pair in such cases. Ac­cord­ingly, we are of the opin­ion that the re­spon­dent should have re­paired the ve­hi­cle free of charges,” the court said.

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