High Court orders Kuenphen Motors to compensate only 5 EV owners out of 40 who appealed

On 19 March, the High Court (HC) issued a judgment to Kuenphen Motors to compensate Nu 15,000 to 5 MG ZS EV owners. However, HC upheld the Thimphu District Court’s judgement regarding 35 Neta V owners and instead asked them to pay the dealer Nu 3,750 each as appeal cost

HC addressed specific issues, such as missing features, ordering Kuenphen Motors to compensate affected parties accordingly within a month, and also rest of the EV owners of Neta V to pay the dealer the appeal cost within the next 10 days.

The case involved 35 Neta V Taxi Operators and 11 MG ZS Taxi Operators who brought forward various claims and accusations against Kuenphen Motors.

These included allegations of deception regarding pricing, features, and mileage of the Neta V electric vehicles, as well as issues with the delivery of vehicles with a lower range 384 km than promised 401 km and additional charges imposed during delivery.

MG ZS operators also raised concerns about failing to achieve promised mileage 419km and missing advertised features, receiving a different version, specifically a Sri Lankan version than the initially promised UK version.

Following the initial proceedings, the Dispute Settlement Committee (DSC) of the Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (CCAA) ordered Kuenphen Motors to compensate all Neta V and MG ZS EV customers an amount of Nu 30,000 each.

The legal basis for this decision included Rule Three of Consumer Protection Rules and Regulations 2015 and violations of Contract Act of Bhutan, 2013, and Consumer Protection Act (CPA) 2012.

Subsequently, all parties involved appealed to the Thimphu District Court.

The Thimphu District Court Civil Bench reviewed the case and completely reversed the decision made by the DSC, dismissing the appeal.

The reasons are that the buyers were responsible for inspecting the vehicles upon handover, and the complaints lodged after six months were considered invalid. Buyers were informed during the induction program about the mileage reduction given Bhutan’s topography.

Also, the failure to raise complaints promptly despite being aware of the mileage difference.  Regarding the UK and Sri Lankan version dispute, the court ruled that the EV order booking form did not specify the version.

If both the parties are dissatisfied with the High Court decision, they can appeal to the Supreme Court within 10 days.

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