Firm Updates -
T&P SECURES REFUND AND COMPENSATION IN LANDMARK CASE AGAINST APPLE INDIA FOR DEFECTIVE LAPTOP.
In a consumer complaint under Section 11 of the Consumer Protection Act, the complainant filed a complaint against Apple India, a multinational technology company with its headquarters in California, USA, hereinafter referred to as OP-1, and Zenica Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd., an authorized dealer/service provider of OP-1, hereinafter referred to as OP-2. The nature of the complaint pertained to a high-end laptop, namely the Apple MacBook Pro, which was acquired by the complainant on the 10th of March, 2017, for the sum of Rs. 2,24,000/- along with an additional warranty amounting to Rs. 24,900/-. The issue at hand revolved around a malfunction in the laptop's finder, resulting in the inaccessibility of various documents and distortion of the screen. Seeking resolution, the complainant sought assistance at OP-2, the officially designated service center for OP-1.
OP-2 initially suggested a software reinstallation to resolve the issue, but it resulted in the loss of crucial data. Despite subsequent repairs and replacements, the laptop continued to face multiple issues, such as keyboard malfunction, yellow patches on the screen, and an unresponsive touch bar. The complainant made repeated visits to OP-2 and also reached out to OP-1's customer support and executives, highlighting the problems faced with the laptop. However, the issues persisted, and the complainant sought a replacement or a refund for the laptop. OP-1 contended that the laptop was not defective and that they can only replace it if there is a manufacturing defect. They argued that the laptop's parts were replaced as per the warranty terms and conditions and that the complainant's allegations were false. The Court observed that the complainant purchased a brand-new laptop and expected it to function properly without any issues.
However, the laptop repeatedly malfunctioned, and the complainant had to visit the service center multiple times for repairs, indicating manufacturing defects. The Court referred to the definition of "defect" under Section 2(1)(f) of the Consumer Protection Act and found that the various issues with the laptop fell within this category.
Therefore, the Court held OP-1 liable for deficiency of service for selling a laptop with repeated malfunctions despite repairs. The Court directed OP-1 to refund the purchase amount of Rs. 2,24,000/- with interest at 8% per annum from the date of the first fault in October 2017. Additionally, the Court awarded the complainant Rs. 50,000/- for mental harassment and Rs. 10,000/- as litigation expenses. OP-1 was ordered to comply with the order within 45 days of the receipt of the order. Failure to do so would result in interest at 8% until the realisation of the amount. The complainant was required to hand over the laptop upon receiving the refund. The complaint against OP-2 was dismissed as they were the authorized service provider and were not liable for replacement or refund.