Have you ever been charged by a service centre for getting your mobile phone repaired while it was still under warranty? If so, then this story might interest you.
According to a report in the Times of India, a consumer court in Bengaluru has asked Chinese handset maker Xiaomi to refund an amount of Rs 10,999 to a Bengaluru resident for wrongfully charging him for repair while his phone was under the warranty period.
The amount is inclusive of the price of the mobile phone and the litigation costs borne by the customer.
The report says the complainant Madhusudan, a resident of Bengaluru's HSR Layout, had bought a Xiaomi Redmi 2 smartphone for Rs 6,999 from Flipkart back in March 2015. However, the device's display started malfunctioning seven months later and then went completely blank. But Madhusudan kept using the phone and was able to answer calls since the handset would still vibrate.
Madhusudan later decided to take the phone to an authorised Xiaomi service centre in Koramangala where, to his disappointment, he was told that the screen was damaged and would need to be replaced. The representatives at the service centre told him replacing the screen would set him back by Rs 2,550. Madhusudan agreed to the repair.
Two days later, he received a call from the service centre informing him that his phone's motherboard was damaged as well. The service centre executive suggested that Madhusudan buy a new phone instead of repairing the faulty Redmi 2 as repairing the phone would cost nearly as much as buying a new one.
An irate Madhusudan demanded that the service centre repair the phone free of cost as per the warranty or initiate a full refund for his handset, as the device was still under the warranty period.
When his demands to the service centre and emails to Xiaomi fell on deaf ears, he approached the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Bangalore Urban, against Xiaomi and the service centre in October 2015. Two years and three months later, on January 4, 2018, the court ruled in his favour.
Meanwhile, in its defence, Xiaomi insisted that the customer himself was responsible for the damage to the phone, including the damage to the motherboard, and that the warranty policy does not cover handsets damaged by users.
The court pulled up Xiaomi for illegally charging the customer for repairs within the one-year warranty period, and asked the country's largest smartphone brand to pay the customer the full cost of the handset along with litigation charges – totalling Rs 10,999.
"When the complainant is entitled to free repair or replacement of the phone within the warranty period, asking him to buy a new handset clearly amounts to deficiency of service on part of Xiaomi," the report cites the judge as saying.
It may be noted that Xiaomi recently surpassed Samsung to become India's largest-selling smartphone brand, owing to its growing popularity in the budget and mid-range segments.