unsatisfied product quality
I bought TUV300 AMT from Mahindra dealer in November 2015. I have faced many issues with the same. The issues have ranged from engine knocking, loud truck like noise and jerks. There have been few parts recalls too like fuel delivery module, jet pump, vaccume modulator etc. For these issues my vehicle had to be kept in workshop for weeks each time, though I was always provided with a loaner vehicle from Mahindra. Mahindra has always responded in time, have sent plant technicians to interact with me or do a joint test drive to resolve my issues. Recently I complained about transmission issue with my vehicle but after many technician's visit and joint test drive the root cause was identified as aftermarket 8mm thick floor matting installed by me. Engine knocking issue happened three times with me and it disappears once you have rested the vehicle for 10 minutes. No error code is captured in vehicles ECU, hence twice Mahindra workshop denied the issue and returned the vehicle after thorough testing of wires and other parts. Third time I was able to record the engine knocking, jerks and loud truck like noise produced by the vehicle. They could not deny the issue due to the recording and kept my vehicle and returned back without any explanation and assured me this will not happen again. I have been demanding the explanation, but so far have not been given. Kindly also note, the above issue occurs randomly and in cold driving condition. Mahindra has not provided me any document or bill for work performed or issue identified. Each time vehicle was picked up and delivered by dealership drivers. Even in online service application, the only detail they have mentioned is general check up. Who keeps vehicle for general check up for one week or 3-4 days? Above is the background, now my issue / query - Due to above issues, I felt cheated, have been very apprehensive of the quality and reliability of my car and hence vented my disappointment and frustration on social media pages of the company using my twitter account. I have tweeted all possible negative feedback available online about the product, have engaged with many prospective customers on company's social media pages and many have decided to not to purchase this vehicle after going through my opinion and experience as a customer. Due to this on 11th June 2016, Mahindra has sent an email informing me that they have initiated an action against me for misuse of social media, engaging with their customers, tweeting derogatory tweets to their top management including CMD and causing irrecoverable damage to their brand. I am yet to receive a notice, however I am now worried about how to handle this. I did what I felt correct in such a mental state where even after paying 12 Lacs I was not able to enjoy the vehicle while paying EMIs each month. In order to verify the contents of tweets, You can check my twitter handle - @SharadTater . Kindly help me with your opinion on where I stand if an action truly is initiated by the company.
This seems to be a case, where in the company might be legally pursuing you for defamation.
Defamation is a wrong generally associated with misuse of freedom of speech, which is guaranteed under Article 19 (2) of the constitution.
In India, defamation can be both a civil wrong and a criminal offence. The difference between the two lies in the objects they seek to achieve. While a civil wrong tends to provide for a redressal of wrongs by awarding compensation, a criminal law seeks to punish a wrongdoer under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and send a message to others not to commit such acts.
Section 499 of the IPC defines criminal defamation as words – spoken or intended to be read, through signs, and also through visible representations, which can either be published or spoken about a person with the intention of damaging reputation of that person, or with the knowledge or reason to believe that the imputation will harm his reputation. Criminal defamation is a compoundable offence and parties can seek a closure of the case by reaching a compromise.
There can be various defences to defamation like-
In this case, you were expressing an opinion and sharing a personal experience, which was not intended to damage their reputation, as is a valid defence as stated above. The second exception , under section 499, specifically states that- “expressing opinion” is not a case for defamation.
Hence, you could cite expressing opinion as your constitutionally guaranteed right as a defence with no aim to cause damage to Mahindra’s reputation.
Please note that the decision of the court could depend on how you have approached people with your "opinion". If too viciously or strongly worded, a mere opinion could be seen as an intentional act to cause damage to the company's reputation. Hence proving that such an intention did not exist, is crucial on your part.
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