Priyansi Vijay Patil: How to File a Consumer Complaint in India?
We humans will buy a variety of commodities throughout our lives and benefit from a large number of services. In most cases, these availed goods and services are up to standard and provide us with a satisfactory experience. But in some cases, these goods and services fall short in standards. Either the goods and services lack in quality and quantity or we are charged more than the maximum retail price. Thus, we can see that at times the consumers are cheated by traders.
To protect the consumers from the clutches of the traders and to overcome all such problems the Government of India has passed a new act to protect the consumers. The name of the Act is the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. This Act aims for overall protection of consumers and speedy trials of such matters.
Who can file a Consumer Complaint?
It is very important to know who is a consumer under this act before knowing about the procedure regarding the filing of consumer complaint. The germane point which must be taken into consideration is who is not a consumer as per this act.
According to the section 2(1) (d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 a consumer is a person who buys goods and services for a consideration which may be partly or fully paid or partly or fully promised or any other person who may consume goods with the approval of buyer and not for manufacturing or resale purpose.
Apart from the above-mentioned categorization, the following persons and entities can also file a complaint:
- A voluntary consumer association.
- The Central or State Governments.
- The legal heirs and representatives in case of death of the actual consumer.
- Numerous consumers having the same or similar interest in goods and services.
According to the laymen’s language, an individual who purchases goods and services which are fully or partly paid, and is for his personal use and not for resale and manufacturing is called a consumer.
Through this Act, a consumer can file a complaint without the help of a lawyer on his own. The intention of the Government to pass this act was to make the filing of complaint process easy and simple for consumers.
Points to consider before filing the consumer complaint:
It is not always recommended to directly file a complaint in consumer forum against the seller before informing him/her. A consumer should first give notice to the opposite party explaining the defects in the product or the grievances faced.
A consumer should wait for a considerable time for the reply from the opposite party. If the opposite party is ready to change the defected product or return your money then there is no need to file the complaint. But if the concerned party is ignoring your notice then, you can file a complaint in consumer court.
What is an appropriate jurisdiction?
A Consumer Forum should have both territorial as well as pecuniary jurisdiction to decide the matter in which your complaint will be filed.
Territorial jurisdiction complaint should be commenced with a District forum (Section 11), State Commission (Section 17) or the National Commission (Section 21) within the local limits of whose jurisdiction,
- The place where the opposite party, or if there is more than one opposite party, then at least one of the opposite parties should either reside or carries out their business.
- The place where the cause of action arose.
In pecuniary jurisdiction, Consumer Complaints can be filed with respect to the value given below,
- In District forum up to the value of 20 lakhs.
- In-State Commission from the value of 20 lakhs to 1 crore.
- In National Commission for value more than 1 crore.
How to file a Consumer Complaint in India?
- Step 1: Filing Complaint
You can write your complaint on a normal paper. It is not necessary to submit the complaint on a stamp paper.
- Step 2: Detailed information & Attachment of Documents
The complaint should be a detailed one containing all the necessary facts for the establishment of the cause of action. For example, Name and complete details of both the complainant and the opposite party, particulars of the dispute, details of the product, details of the relief sought by you as a consumer, etc. It is important to attach the copies of all the relevant documents like a copy of the bills of the goods, warranty receipt, copy of the notice sent to the opposite party where you asked for the compensation.
- Step 3: Mentioning of Claims from the opposite party
The claims made by you as a consumer should be specific and apart from the claimed compensation, you can also ask for refunds, damages, litigation expenditure, etc.
- Step 4: Explaining Jurisdiction of Case
There should be a proper explanation regarding the jurisdiction of the case. You are supposed to explain as to how your case if falling under that particular jurisdiction.
- Step 5: Attachment of verified Affidavit
To prove that all the facts and claims mentioned by you in your complaint are true, you are supposed to affix a verified affidavit along with your complaint.
- Step 6: Representation of your case
At last, your signature is mandatory. Being a consumer, you can either argue your own case or through an authorized representative. If you are filing your complaint under a district or state commission, you are required to file the complaint in 3 sets. But if your complaint is filed under the National commission, then 4 sets are required for the same.
- Step 7: Condition for filing the Case
It is very important to keep in mind that the complaint must be filed within 2 years from the date on which the cause of action arose. If you are crossing this limit of 2 years, you are required to give a sufficient reason to the forum. Then it depends upon the discretion of the forum whether it will accept your complaint or not.
Being a consumer, it is very important for you to know your rights as well as duties. If you face any such malpractices of misconduct by the traders, sellers, you must stand against it. And the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is your weapon which you can use against any such harassment.
JAGO GRAHAK JAGO.
How to File a Consumer Complaint in India?