New Delhi District Commission Holds Apple India Responsible for Failure to Provide Adequate After-Sales Service or Replacement

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission-VI in New Delhi, with Poonam Chaudhry as President, Shekhar Chandra and Bariq Ahmad as Members, found Apple India Private Limited responsible for deficient service due to inadequate after-sales support and delayed repair of an iPhone.

Key Details

The complainant bought an Apple iPhone 6 from Spice Retail Limited for Rs. 49,500/-. About 10 months later, the complainant noticed blurred patches on the screen and approached an Apple Authorized Service Centre operated by Unicorn Infosolutions. After initial assessment, it was determined that the display needed replacement, covered under warranty. Initially requesting a replacement phone, the complainant was assured by Unicorn that the repair would meet standards equivalent to a new device. Unicorn provided a standby device during the repair.

After the repair was finished, the complainant received notification and a service summary detailing the replacement of the display assembly and camera, along with a 90-day service warranty. Despite this, the complainant’s original device remained with Unicorn for over a month without any updates. Dissatisfied with this delay, the complainant lodged a consumer complaint with the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission-VI in New Delhi against Spice Retail (the seller), Unicorn Infosolutions, and Apple India Private Limited.

Apple responded by stating that the initial repair was conducted to resolve the display issue within warranty guidelines. When the complainant later reported an additional issue concerning a display pop-up near the silent button, further repair attempts were made but did not meet the complainant’s satisfaction. Apple clarified that the device did not qualify for additional repair or replacement under their assessment. They affirmed that Unicorn adhered to Apple’s guidelines throughout the service process.

District Commission’s Findings

The District Commission emphasized that neither traders nor manufacturers can evade responsibility using a warranty card when products exhibit inherent manufacturing flaws. It underscored that the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 aims to safeguard consumer interests against deceitful manufacturers or traders who sell substandard or faulty goods, as well as service providers who do not uphold service standards.

The District Commission observed that under the Income Tax Act, 1961, mobile phones depreciate at a rate of 15% of the Written Down Value (WDV) for tax purposes. Categorized under ‘plant and machinery’, mobile phones, like other long-term assets, lose value over time. It concluded that Apple’s failure to provide adequate after-sales service and their actions leading to unnecessary litigation constituted deficiency in service and unfair trade practices.

Consequently, the District Commission directed Apple to refund the mobile phone’s purchase price to the complainant, deducting 15% for depreciation. The complainant was instructed to return the standby mobile with accessories upon receiving the refund. Additionally, Apple was ordered to pay ₹25,000/- as compensation for mental distress and harassment, along with ₹5,000/- as litigation costs.

Case Title: Ashish Soni vs Spice Retail Limited and Ors.

Case Number: CC/532/2016

Date of Order: 05.06.2024

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