Microsoft must pay, says Nokia, after Mexico court ruling on faulty handsets

Earlier this week, a court in Mexico ruled in favor of the country's federal consumer protection agency, Profeco, which had filed a lawsuit against Nokia Mexico on behalf of consumers who had purchased handsets made by the Finnish firm, which were later found to be faulty

The court ordered that Nokia Mexico must replace the faulty handsets and/or reimburse their cost, and pay a compensatory amount on top of this, equivalent to at least 20% of the total damages that had resulted from the failure of the handsets since early 2010, when the lawsuit was first filed. 

The lawsuit, and consequent ruling, relates to devices sold by Nokia Mexico prior to February 2010 - long before Microsoft acquired Nokia's devices and services business earlier this year, and a year before Nokia even joined the Windows Phone platform. Nonetheless, Nokia asserts that the responsibility now lies with Microsoft to deal with the consequences of the ruling. 

A Nokia spokesperson told Reuters that the company is not liable in the case, saying: "Microsoft acquired Nokia Mexico S.A. de C.V. as part of its acquisition of the former Nokia Devices & Services business, including any liabilities to customers." Indeed, while this may not sound especially 'fair' to some, it is common practice in transactions such as Microsoft's purchase of the Nokia division. 

But some ambiguities remain surrounding the extent of Microsoft's remaining obligations to satisfy the court's ruling. According to a Microsoft spokesperson, Nokia Mexico was already ordered to pay damages to 17 customers in October 2013, and says that Nokia paid them a total of $4,200 in March 2014, before the acquisition by Microsoft was completed. 

However, Profeco claimed this week that customers who had not yet registered their complaints as part of the lawsuit would still be eligible to do so, in order to seek compensation from the company. Microsoft disagrees with this, and states that the deadline for claims passed in April 2012. 

Profeco maintains that owners of defective handsets can still file claims for compensation against Nokia Mexico - and therefore against its new owner, Microsoft - insisting that no deadline had ever been set, potentially leaving the door wide open for a larger compensation payout. 

Source: Reuters | image via Microsoft

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