CHENNAI:A company that availed the services of another company for commercial purposes will not come under the definition of ‘consumer’, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi, has held. The order came in a revision petition filed by Kone Elevator India, a multinational company that has its manufacturing unit near Chennai. The firm was directed to pay a compensation and cost of `62,000 by the Jaipur District Consumer Forum for failure to install lifts at a private hospital within the agreed period.
The consumer forum at Jaipur had awarded the hospital `51,000 as compensation and `11,000 as cost. The elevator company appealed the decision before the State Commission unsuccessfully, before finally moving the national body. The commission pointed out that the Supreme Court had, in the Laxmi Engineering Works vs PSG. Industrial Institute (1995) case, held that a person buying goods and using the same by himself solely for the purpose of earning his livelihood by means of self-employment would be a consumer. Whether the person bought the goods for a commercial purpose or not was a question of fact to be decided based on the facts and circumstances of each case.
Noting that the research centre was a company incorporated under provisions of the Companies Act, VK Jain, presiding member of the National Commission, held that it was evident that the hospital was being run by it for making profits. “The orders passed by the fora below are wholly without jurisdiction, since the services of the petitioner were availed by the complainant for a commercial purpose. Consequently, a complaint before a Consumer Forum was not maintainable,” commission said.