Does Exide really want a settlement?

By Abhijit Menon-Sen <>

In my last hearing at the consumer forum, I was asked to present oral arguments again today. The Exide chap also asked me for my phone number so that the lawyer could discuss a settlement. He never called.

I wondered if they'd try to spring it on me in court today, and that's exactly what they did. Their lawyer (the same one who wrote the response to my complaint) waited until the last possible moment to ask me what it would take to settle, so that when my case came up for hearing, he could say he wanted to discuss a settlement, and I would be unprepared.

I protested to the bench that it was a delaying tactic, but that made me look unreasonable (just as he wanted, I'm sure). I eventually did agree to another hearing in two weeks to see if we can reach a settlement.

When he asked me what I wanted, I referred him to my complaint, which he dismissed as being always exaggerated. I said I wanted all three batteries replaced, plus compensation amounting to a bit less than what I had originally asked for. I also said I was very offended by what they had said about me in their response (unclean hands etc.), and he said that's just a part of litigation.

Anyway, he went off saying he would try to bring some harmony between Exide and me. Meanwhile, I will prepare my oral arguments again, based on what I learned from listening to a somewhat disorganised lawyer presenting hers in court today. I learned a lot about what not to do, and what the forum members look for.