Maruti launched its mid-size sedan, the Ciaz, on October 6 and had opened bookings prior to the launch with the company even claiming that it had received over 10,000 bookings. The company accepted bookings for the Ciaz without publicly displaying the car or revealing its price or technical specifications. This particular action has not gone down well with former Railways Minister and MP Dinesh Trivedi, who has filed a complaint with consumer affairs ministry. Trivedi says that he has done so because of the numerous complaints received from the public about the pre-launch booking.
According to the Consumer Protection Act “a consumer has the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices”. The Ministry believes that the way in which the new car was promoted amounts to “misleading the customers”, it has sent a letter to the chairman and MD of Maruti Suzuki asking them why it shouldn’t take action against the company.
Maruti Suzuki has responded by saying that, it has in no way engaged in unfair trade practice or violated the rights of the customers. It says that the customers were not forced to book the car and they also have a choice of canceling their booking at a later stage in which case, the token amount they have paid will also be refunded to them.
Booking of cars before launch is not an uncommon practice in the automotive industry and is followed by other manufacturers as well. Examples are Honda with the Amaze, Tata Motors with the Zest and Hyundai with the i10 Grand.