I am an Indian Air Force serving officer. I booked our Car (Indica DLS Registration No MH-12 BP 2635) with some household items for transportation from Ahmedabad to Guwahati through Mr. Pradeep (Mob No 09328538101) who claimed to be a representative of FedEx Packers and Movers on 25 Apr 09 at Ahmedabad.
I handed over the above mentioned car to Mr. Pradeep and made a cash payment of Rs 20,700/- (Rupees Twenty Thousand Seven Hundred Only) in cash with balance Rs 4000/- to be paid on delivery at Guwahati. I was informed that the car would be driven down to Vadodara (Baroda) from where it would be loaded in the container. The car was fully serviceable and was driven to Baroda on the same date. Mr. Pradeep assured me that he would advice the driver to give me a position report every two days and the car would be delivered at Guwahati within maximum 15 days.
We (me and my family) reached Guwahati on 26 April 2009. When I enquired about the position of the car, Mr. Pradeep gave me a contact no of one Mr. Mainpal (Mob No 09374743338) and informed me that further enquiries should be made with Mr. Mainpal. From then on I was regularly in touch with Mr. Mainpal. Initially he said it would take 10-12 days. After 10 days, he said that the trailer has developed a clutch plate problem and is being rectified near West Bengal border. He was always unsure of the position of our car and his replies were always ambiguous. He also said that the driver was not carrying a mobile.
On 16 May 09 (after 21 days), I received a call from the driver (Mr. Babloo) to come and receive our car at a place called Amingaon (25 km from our residence at Guwahati). When I reached to receive the car, I was told that the car was not drivable and that eight people had loaded it with the help of towing ropes at Gurgaon in unserviceable condition. The following points were observed while receiving the car at Guwahati:-
• The car was unable to start. (Battery fully drained out)
• The timing belt was missing. (Found under the driver's seat in broken condition)
• The fan belt was found broken.
• A towing rope and two iron rods were found inside the car.
• One well worn shirt (appeared to be of the driver) was found.
• The household items were fiddled with and were in a very bad shape.
When I refused to pay the balance amount of Rs 4000/- to the driver, he asked me to speak to the truck owner - Mr. Ashok (Mob No 09811403435). Mr. Ashok informed me that he had intimated the condition of the car to the loaders at Gurgaon and had in fact insisted on informing the receiving party.
I first tried to contact Mr. Pradeep with whom I had booked our car. His mobile and landline were unreachable. All attempts to contact him were futile. I could not contact him throughout the day. I then tried to contact Mr. Mainpal. His mobile phone was also unreachable initially. After many attempts the call was received. Mr. Mainpal agreed to waive off Rs 4000/- in consultation with Mr. Ashok and assured me that the repairs would not cost more than Rs 2000 to Rs 3000 as only the fan belt was broken. (This implies that Mr. Mainpal was aware of the broken fan belt!)
I arranged for towing of the car to nearest service station (Abhishek Motors - Authorised Tata Service Centre). The service centre made following additional observations:-
• Power steering motor was burnt (approx cost Rs 10000/-)
• Since the timing belt appears to be broken at high speed the cylinder head needs to be opened, inspected and repaired if required (approx cost of repairs Rs 25000/-)
• Used cigarette butts were found in the ash tray (My husband is a non-smoker!)
We had chosen FedEx despite having to pay Rs 10000/- more than local transporters (quoted Rs 15000). FedEx quoted more than Agrawal Packers and Movers (Rs 22000/-). In spite of paying the highest cost, the service offered by FedEx was well below expected standards. Firstly, the delivery was not made within the time period specified. Secondly, the car was mishandled brutally and we were kept in the dark throughout and finally, we incurred a total expenditure of Rs 35000/- in addition to the mental harassment which was completely avoidable if FedEx had handled our car with care.
Later, I contacted the Head Office of FedEx at Secunderabad. My phone was attended by one Mr. Ramniwas. He assured that they (FedEx) will carry out an internal enquiry and will refund me the expenditure on repairs. He apologized on behalf of FedEx and promised to extend all possible help. I sent a written complaint through registered post on the address printed on the bill. Later, Mr. Ramniwas requested to send our ICICI savings bank a/c number so that he can transfer the money in our account. He added that if required he will deduct money from the employees’ salary and credit the amount to our account. He also requested to send a copy of bills of repair. I sent the account number and scanned copy of bills to Mr. Ramniwas.
In about 15 days the registered letter was returned unopened. When I again contacted Mr. Ramniwas, he informed that the address of FedEx has been changed recently. I continued to call Mr. Ramniwas for progress of the promised refund almost every week. Each time Mr. Ramniwas assured me that the refund would be given in a day or two.
On 29 July 2009 I asked him to give a firm date by which the refund would be made. Failing which legal proceedings would be required to start. Mr. Ramniwas said that latest by 08 August 2009 the refund would be credited to my account. He added that they give salary to their employees on every 7th of the month. If required the money would be deducted from the salary.
On 10 August 2009, there was no response from any one – Mr. Pradeep or Mr. Ramniwas. We kept trying to contact both of them from 1500 to 1830. The phones kept ringing but no one answered.
I consulted a civil lawyer at Guwahati and filed a case in the district consumer court (Case No 114/2009) in October 2009.
There is no response from my lawyer and it seems that the transporter has changed his address. Please advice how to progress further on the issue.
- Wing Commander Vaibhav G Gore