It took four years of sustained effort, but Ganesh Govind Kulkarni’s never-say-die spirit finally won the day. A consumer court has held the automobile major Piaggio guilty after the Ape mini truck Kulkarni, a small time, rural farmer had bought, proved incapable of taking even half the load advertised in the vehicle’s brochure.

In what is clearly a victory for the underdog, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ordered Piaggio to refund the full amount Kulkarni had paid for the vehicle.

The Commission dismissed the automobile manufacturer’s claim that the height of the Ghats where Kulkarni was operating the vehicle was above the average altitude for which the vehicle was designed. The state commission upheld and also modified the earlier 2014 district consumer court’s order, which was also in favour of the farmer.

Kulkarni started experiencing problems with the vehicle five days after he purchased it in 2010. “The claims made by the respondents in their brochure are also misleading. Despite clear-cut directions from the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) to not sell the vehicle in Mumbai and Pune, they have sold the vehicle. So, this is a case of unfair trade practice on the part of the respondents,” the Court ruled.

It directed the company and dealer to pay Rs 2,84,000, the full cost of the vehicle, to the complainant within 45 days of Kulkarni returning the vehicle to the dealer, failing which the amount will carry an interest of 12 per cent per annum from the date of order till the realisation of the amount.

In his complaint, Kulkarni stated that he had purchased the mini truck from the company showroom. At the time of purchase, he had been shown a brochure which said the vehicle had the capacity to carry up to 865 kg and could climb any height. However, the vehicle could carry only between 300 kg and 350 kg, and this had been demonstrated to a company representative.


Guide to approaching a consumer court

India's first practical guide to resolving your complaints by approaching consumer court. Guidance
Customer Complaint


Enter your email address to subscribe to our Newsletter.