KUALA LUMPUR: Does the Small Claims Tribunal have the jurisdiction to hear the case of a customer claiming for the loss of his car which he had parked in a hypermarket's car park?
Chandy Samuel and his wife Nellie Low, whose car was stolen from the Tesco Extra car park between 2pm and 2.32pm on March 11, will know on June 24 whether the tribunal can hear their case.
Tribunal president Leong May Chan said she would have to look carefully into the merits of the case as her decision would either "open or close the floodgates" on such cases being brought to the tribunal in the future.
The couple is claiming RM23,718.75 from Tesco Extra for the loss of Low's car at the car park as well as other costs.
Samuel submitted that the tribunal had jurisdiction to hear the case as the hypermarket had failed to ensure customer safety and well-being by not making customers' properties as their top priority.
He said Tesco provided free parking as an inducement to attract customers to shop there and thus had responsibility to safeguard their customers' properties.
He said the "very poor and substandard customer service" given to him following the loss of his car "contributed to frustrating any possible early action by the police" to recover his car.
"The police told me that it took two to three hours for the stolen car to be dismantled and I was too late in making the report.
"The KL police crime and prevention division told me that 10 cars had been reported stolen at the outlet last year while in the first five months of this year, four cars, including mine, had been reported stolen.
"Looking at the seriousness and severity of the statistics, why were there no drastic and preventive security measures taken to safeguard customers' vehicles?"
Tesco's legal advisers Azliza Baizura Azmel and Tan Ooi Boon submitted that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to hear the case.
Under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) Tesco could be not be defined as supplier of the car park service as it was offered free of charge as a facility of convenience to customers much like the provision of toilets and ATM machines.
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