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How to file a complaint in Consumer Court of India?

Consumers face loss due unfair or deceptive practices in the market. Consumer satisfaction is most important for any business to earn revenue. There have been many cases where a company has made fraudulent business and consumers faced huge loss. With the objective to protect consumer rights consumer court has been introduced.

Topics covered in this article are:

1. What is the purpose of consumer court?

2. Rights of consumers

3. Process of filing complaint in consumer court

4. Filing complaint through online mode

5. Grounds for filing complaint

1. What is the purpose of consumer court?

Consumer courts were established in India with an objective to solve issues regarding costumer grievances and disputes. Consumers have specific rights when they purchase any products in the market. It makes sure that the producers or sellers do not misuse their power and conduct fraudulent activities. When a consumer faces any issue regarding a product purchased a complaint can be filed in consumer court

2. Rights of consumers

Indian government has given different rights to the consumers to protect their interests. The consumer rights focuses on making consumers more aware and avoiding frauds. They are:

a. Right to safety

Products sold in the market can be hazardous and dangerous. The quality of products should be such that it should meet the requirements of the consumers. There is various quality assurance conducted on products such as ISI, AGMARK etc. Consumers should be aware of these quality tests and marks

b. Right to choose

A market can exploit consumers by fixing high prices or monopoly. The Consumer protection Act, 1986 defines that the consumers have ‘the right to be assured, whenever possible, to have access to variety of goods and services at competitive prices. All the consumers must have equal right to buy products at a fair price

c. Right to be heard

Consumers opinion and interests are very important for any company. As the goods and services are used by the consumers

d. Right to information

The Consumer should have right to know the standard of quality of products or services and should also have information about quality, quality of the products and services

3. Process of filing complaint in consumer court

In order to file a complaint, only when grounds for filing complaint is satisfied. Complaint should be filed within a period of 2 years from cause of complaint has occurred. Not only consumers but a voluntary consumer association, state or central government can also register a complaint. Steps for filing complaint are:

a. Sending a notice to the service provider

Before officially filing a complaint with consumer court, the aggrieved party must write a notice to the service provider stating the cause of dissatisfaction with the goods or services. Settlement of the issue should also be written in the notice. If the service provider agrees to the settlement method further steps need not be taken

b. Draft Consumer Complaint

If the service provider does not agree for the compensation or does not give any kind of response to the notice a complaint can be drafted formally. The aggrieved party must file a complaint with the following information

· Name and address of the consumer and the service provider

· Cause of action/filing complaint

· Details regarding cause of action

· Settlement claimed by the aggrieved party

· Verification of the complaint by an authorised person

c. Attach relevant documents

Documents are very important in order to file a complaint as they act as evidence for the case. It includes

· Purchase invoice, delivery package, online order details

· Copy of notice sent to service provider

· Warranty or guarantee certificates

d. Choose the relevant forum

Based on the jurisdiction for filing complaint, consumer forums are different in different cases such as district forum or state forum. The jurisdiction depends on the value of goods or services brought and the compensation claimed by the aggrieved party

e. Pay the court fees

To file the complaint with consumer court prescribed fees has to be paid along with the complaint

f. Submit affidavit

An affidavit with all the true facts as per the knowledge of the aggrieved party should be stated in the affidavit and submitted before the case is to be taken up by the consumer court

4. Filing complaint through online mode

One can file a complaint against service provider through online mode also. The steps to file complaint online are:

a. Visit the website and register as new user or login

b. After logging in give the necessary details of the service provider or the company, the goods or services purchased and types of goods the company offers

c. In the next step give the information regarding why the complaint is being filed. Details such as where the purchase was made, category of goods, value of the product etc

d. Finally upload relevant documents relating to the product purchase and problem with the product and submit the complaint

5. Grounds for filing complaint

Consumers do have the right to file a complaint against service provider in case of any loss has been incurred. But the reason for filing complaint should be valid and true.

· Defective goods purchased

· Defect in services received

· Overpricing above the price limit fixed by the law

· Unfair trade practices like false advertising, fraud etc

· Dangerous or life hazardous product

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the time limit for filing complaint?

Aggrieved party has to file complaint within 2 years of defect in the product arises. However, if the district forum accepts that there was valid reasons for not filing complaint, it can be filed after 2 years

2. Can a consumer file appeal against consumer court?

Yes. Complaint can be filed at 3 levels so that there is no injustice. The order in which complaint is to be filed is:

· District forum

· State forum

· National forum

· Supreme Court

3. Is it mandatory to send a notice to the service provider?

Yes. Intimation has to be made to the service provider that a defect has occurred in the product or service. If no response is given to such notice, then the aggrieved party can go further and file complaint in consumer court

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