FAULTY SERVICE: Unsatisfied with a service
Topics on Faulty Service that can help for an Informed Decision.
FAULTY SERVICE:Unsatisfied with a service? You can sue!
‘Faulty services’ or deficient services are those which are not performed with due care and diligence by the service provider. A service can be termed faulty or deficient if the service provider has failed to fulfill the promises made or caused undue damage to the product that could have been avoided by him if he had shown reasonable care.
In case of after-sales services, such faulty service can cause further damage to the product which can either be repairable or irreparable.
The faulty service can also cause harm or damage to the consumer either monetarily or physically. For instance, you approach a Mobile service centre with your mobile phone for some minor repairs regarding the blinking- display of your device. The centre takes the custody of your phone and hands it over to you the next day but the display completely vanishes.
Be it servicing of a car or your mobile phone, it is not necessary that the service provider always repairs it perfectly. You might have encountered a not-so-fulfilling experience at least once in your lifetime- which might have made you swear that you’ll never ever get any other service from that particular service provider!
This can be better explained by the way of following illustrations-
- If a medical expert or doctor failed or neglected to provide you due care and you suffer from injury or ill-health due to such negligence.
- A Chartered Accountant handling your taxes faults in calculations and you are made to pay a fine.
- A builder failed to deliver your flat’s possession on time or used low-grade material to build your dream house and cracks appear here and there.
Get complete information on how to file a case against faulty service.
There are multiple instances in our day to day life when we are not satisfied with the nature of the services we’re provided. Whether it is a hotel where you find leaky taps or dirty linen or a mobile service centre where their after sales service are incompetent and they fail to provide a solution to your problem - service industry is filled with consumer grievances.
Under what circumstances can the services be termed as a faulty service? What are the conditions that need to be fulfilled in order to seek redressal under the Consumer Protection Act? When does an unsatisfactory service convert into a deficient service? These are some of the common questions that we face in our endeavour to bring the provider of unsatisfactory service to task.
What is a service?
“Service” has been defined as any service provided for a consideration, not being the personal services (Personal services are those rendered to someone in a personal capacity, for example the driver who drives your car is providing a personal service). Certain examples of services mentioned in the Act are services in sectors such as banking, financing, insurance, transport, processing, supply of electrical or other energy, boarding and lodging, construction, entertainment, amusement and the purveying of news.
What is deficiency?
“Deficiency” has been defined under the Consumer Protection Act as any fault, imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature or manner of performance as required by law or by virtue of a contractual agreement.
Thus, an amalgamation of the definitions of service and deficiency reflects that if the conditions stipulated under both these definitions are met, it forms a deficient service.
For example, if you book a car which the seller promises to deliver to you in one month but instead, he proceeds to deliver the car after a period of four months. The seller will be liable for deficient services. In this example, the definition of ‘service’ is met as the seller is providing the service of delivery for a consideration and the definition of ‘deficiency’ is met since there is a shortcoming in the manner in which performance is required as was contractually agreed.
Get complete information on when to file a case against faulty service.
When the customer pays for a service, it becomes the duty of the service provider to ensure that the service is rendered with absolute diligence and without any fault. A person pays for numerous services like internet connection, electricity, courier, insurance, etc.
In case where the service provider renders deficient or faulty service, he will be liable to pay compensation to the customer. The onus of proving that the service was deficient or inadequate falls on the customer. He has to show that some harm/ damage has been caused to him due to such faulty service.
When the customer proves that he made all the efforts to know the terms of the service and adhered to all the necessary precautions and conditions of availing the service, then the cause of action arises against the service provider. For example, if the insurance company denies a person’s insurance claim, and the customer has all the documents related to the insurance purchased by him like the premium receipts, invoice and the insurance certificate, then the insurance company will be held liable for faulty service.
The burden of proving that the service provided was adequate and sufficient lies on the service provider. He has to show that he mentioned all the terms and conditions of the service to the customer and the service provided by him was completed with perfection. However, when the customer fails to prove that he took all the necessary precautions, then the service provider will not be held liable.
In cases when the cause of fault is beyond service provider’s control like flood or earthquake, then the cause of action will arise against no one.
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted to provide a simpler and quicker redressal of consumer grievances. The Act provides a safeguard to a person who suffers due to deficiency in services, unfair/restrictive trade practice, defect in products, higher price and hazardous goods and services. A complaint for the same can be filed within two years from the date on which such harm/damage was caused. A complaint can be filed in either of the three Forums that deal with consumer complains- District Forum, State Commission and National Commission. The complaint can be filed with a view to obtain relief, containing the allegations, description of injury caused and compensation seeked for the same in the prescribed manner accompanied with the prescribed fees.
A complainant can claim any one or more of the following reliefs-
- to remove the defect pointed out by the appropriate laboratory from the goods in question;
- to replace the goods with new goods of similar description which shall be free from any defect;
- to return to the complainant the price, or, as the case may be, the charges paid by the complainant;
- to pay such amount as may be awarded by the consumer forum as compensation to the consumer for any loss or injury suffered by the consumer due to the negligence of the opposite party;
- to remove the defects or deficiencies in the services in question;
- to discontinue the unfair trade practice or the restrictive trade practice or not to repeat it;
- not to offer the hazardous goods for sale;
- to withdraw the hazardous goods from being offered for sale;
- to provide adequate costs to complainant.
The complaint can be filed by-:
- The consumer’
- Any recognized consumer association,
- One or more consumers together facing the same condition, or
- The Central or the State Government.
A well informed consumer does not keep silent if the services provided to him are not at par and files complaints against the erring suppliers and claim the possible compensation.
There are incidents when a customer has been provided faulty, inadequate and imperfect service by the service provider. A faulty service makes the provider liable and the customer is entitled to get compensation for the loss or damage suffered by him.
The amount of compensation to be paid to a consumer depends on several factors.
One factor is the gravity or the magnitude of the fault or deficiency in service. If the fault in the service caused a great loss to the customer, the service provider will be liable to pay the compensation equal to the loss suffered as well as the cost of the court proceedings. For example, in a case where the courier company fails to deliver the goods safely and on time, the customer gets entitled to compensation equal to the amount of goods. Failure of sale and delivery of any goods by Flipkart, Amazon, etc. also qualify for buyer to get compensation.
Another factor is the time period of the inadequate or faulty service. This means that if the service provider does not pay heed to the customer’s grievances and continues with his faulty service, then the customer will get compensation equal to the amount of loss suffered as well as the interest generated on the amount at the rate deemed appropriate by the consumer forum. The court may also award compensation for the mental agony suffered by the consumer. For example, if an insurance company fails to pay the insurance amount on time then the customer will get compensation equal to the insurance amount and the interest thereupon the amount for as long as the insurance amount isn’t paid.
Other factors include the due diligence of the customer to pre-check and confirm the terms and policies of the service. If the customer fails to do so, then he will not be entitled to any compensation.