An Indian citizen can lodge a case in consumer court against a service provider or a seller in case of faulty product delivery, improper service, or harassment. The government of India controls the judiciary hearings regarding consumer grievances. Below we will discuss the entire procedure to file a complaint in consumer court.
All you need to know about Consumer Court in India:
Consumers are eligible to receive quality products and standard services. But in numerous situations, consumers become victims of flawed goods or substandard services. To compensate the customers for defective products and provide a redressal technique the Consumer Protection Act was passed in 1986.
Later, the Act was amended and enacted as the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has established Consumer Court to redress and compensate disputes in India. These courts are divided into three categories depending on the monetary transaction limit. If the transaction amount is below 20 lacs, the case is handled by District Forum. Similarly, State and National Commissions handles the cases of between 20 lacs to 1 crore and above 1crore respectively.
Table of Contents
Consumer Forums responsible for Redressal and Consumer Protection
When it is determined to file a case, the consumer needs to estimate the monetary transaction limit. Based on the pecuniary limit, Consumer Forum is categorized into a three-tier format.
- District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (DCDRF):
Each district has a Forum consisted of 3 members each. When the amount is under 20 lakhs, DCDRF orders to file an appeal in SCDRC.
- State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission(SCDRC):
If the pecuniary value is between 20 lakhs to 1 crore, then an appeal is filed from SCDRC order to NCDRC. This commission is established in every state.
- National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission(NCDRC):
This forum is situated in New Delhi and considered the highest tier of the Redressal system. If the value of the claim exceeds 1 crore then the jurisdiction lies in hands of NCDRC. Also, an appeal from the NCDRC orderlies to the Supreme Court.
Procedure to File a Case in the Consumer Court
- Intimation: The aggrieved party sends a notice to the service provider who sold the product. This notice informs about the intention of the customer to take action for receiving substandard or defective goods. It is an attempt for settlement between both parties without going to Forum.
- Drafting of the complaint: If the seller or service provider is not ready to offer compensation, a formal complaint is lodged under Consumer Protection The process doesn’t necessarily need a lawyer and can be dealt with by the customer himself. The customer must mention the following details:
- Name, address, and description of both the parties.
- Cause of action, approximate date, time, and place.
- Relevant causes behind the action.
- The compensation or remedy claimed by the consumer.
- Signature of the complainant or authorized lawyer.
- Attach required documents: Materialistic evidence and documents are required to support your complaint to produce in the court. They include-
- Copy of bill, delivery receipt, packaging, a record of online booking.
- Warranty/Guarantee cards.
- Copy of the written complaint and notice.
- Appropriate Commission: The consumer needs to choose the proper forum to file the complaint according to pecuniary jurisdiction i.e. the total value of product or service availed. Mention the compensation amount that is fixed.
- Pay court fee: A certain amount of money is needed to be paid along with the complaint. The amount depends on the type of the forum, the value of the product bought and the compensation sought.
- Submit Affidavit: While filing the case it is necessary to submit an affidavit in the court. It is proof that the facts described by the complainant are true to their knowledge.
Eligibility Criteria to File a Consumer Complaint
- Certainly, a consumer only can file a complaint, but to do that, he or she needs to fulfil two conditions-
- The consumer has paid money to purchase products or avail of services in exchange for money.
- The person has purchased the product for personal use only and not for resale purpose.
- A registered voluntary consumer association under the Companies Act or other law.
- The Government, be it central or state.
- Consumers with the same interest.
- A legal heir or relative of a deceased consumer.
A complaint is a written allegation and thus, the complainant must fall under the definition of a consumer.
Conditions to Lodge a Consumer Complaint
- Unfair or restricted trade practice by a service provider.
- Defective or substandard products, which are already bought or agreed to be purchased by the consumer.
- Service Deficiency, whether hired or confirmed to be hired.
- Overcharging of goods when the price is fixed by the law, displayed on packaging, or agreed between both parties.
- Selling goods that are hazardous for life, safety, and property.
Procedure to approach the District Forum
The complaint can be written on plain paper and can be filed by the complainant himself or his authorized agent.
- Four copies and additional ones for each party need to be filed by the complainant.
- The Court Fee for suits valued up to 1 lakh is zero for those who have Antyodaya and Anna Yojanacards, while in other cases the amount is Rs. 100. When the suits are valued up to 5 lakhs, the court fee is Rs. 200, and for suits valued up to 10 lakhs, the fee is Rs. 400. For those up to 20 lakhs, the court fee is Rs. 500.
- The court fee must be paid by demand draft made out by the President of Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum along with the district name.
Procedure to approach State Consumer Forum
- The consumer can file a case according to pecuniary jurisdiction or file an appeal from the order of DCDRC within 30 days from the passing of the order.
- The court fee for the value between 20 to 50 lakhs is Rs. 2000 while the fee is Rs 4000 when the value is up to 1 crore.
- Court fees need to be deposited via demand draft in favour of Registrar, name of State Commission.
Documents required Filing a Consumer Complaint in SCDRC
- Copy of complaint which is filed, the proofs, evidence, the material, and other documents consisted of correct name and address of both parties.
- A certified copy of the order passed by District Forum.
- Four copies are needed to be filed in the court and copies to be served on each Respondent.
- Copy of Interim orders passed by DCDRC or petitions to the case need to be attached and submitted along with the Affidavit.
- Application for Condonation of Delay (if any) along with reasons has to be submitted.
- A deposit of Rs. 25000 or 50% of the compensation amount, whichever is less than the other has to be made by opposite parties.
Procedure to approach NCDRC
- A consumer can file the complaint directly according to pecuniary jurisdiction or file an appeal from SCDRC order within 30 days of passing the order.
- The court fee is Rs. 5000 and the demand draft will be made out to The Registrar, NCDRC.
- There is no further fee for filing an appeal before the State or National Commission.
A complainant can approach the Supreme Court against the orders of NCDRC within 30 days from passing of the order.
Reliefs granted under the Consumer Protection Act
- Refund of the product price paid by the customer and additional compensation for any damage if claimed.
- Removal of defects which is proven to exist after conducting a test on the material. The passed order might ask to remove or fix the damages.
- Compensation for mental or physical damage suffered while owning or using the product.
- Imposing a ban on life-threatening goods and their abomination from the market.
- Order of discontinuation of restrictive trade practice. The authority can impose a permanent or conditional ban on unfair service.
- Payment of the cost of the product and litigation claimed by the aggrieved party.
Time Limit to File a Case in Consumer Court
A complaint must be filed within two years from the date of the action of deficiency or when the problem happened. According to the law, the case can be filed after the statutory period of two years if DCDRC is satisfied with the sufficient cause for not filing the case within that period. The delay can be granted if the reasons are acceptable.
How to Appeal against Consumer Court Order?
The Supreme Court is at the top of the hierarchy of the Forum format. Law allows the complainant to appeal against the forum’s order at every level so that justice is served.
Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is bestowed upon the consumers so that no unscrupulous affair takes place. In order to secure the safety of the consumer right from unfair trade, protection is provided to eradicate all the disputes in the market. This is the reason why the Forums are established exclusively for Consumer Protection.
How can Online Legal India™help you?
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Our recently Resolved Consumer Complaint Cases
Recently we have solved numerous cases and solved the problems of our clients. Here are some examples of cases that have been handled by our company:
- Rajesh Kathuria filed a complaint against a Bank and claimed approximately 22 Crores.
- Bharat Rai registered a complaint against VMakes Visas Pvt. Ltd. The approximate claim amount was 3.60 lacs.
- Dominic Thomas filed a case against Singomax PTE LTD and the claimed amount was 2.85 lacs.
- Janak Vinaykant Mistry has complained against Medistar Hospital and the amount claimed was 2.73 lacs.
- Seenivasan lodged a case against the showroom and the approximate claim amount was 2.10 lacs.
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