Selling and buying in this fast moving world has become very convenient and quick. Nowadays, shopping doesn’t just remain to physical shopping but it has shifted more towards window shopping or online shopping. While all of these seems very good and convenient there are some things which every consumer should keep in mind before buying anything. And one of these things should be what if you get cheated and how will you file a complaint in the consumer court.
We know that there is a consumer court which we can approach immediately if we have been cheated by a seller but what we don’t know how is it done? What are the steps to follow to go through the entire procedure? So here’s a step to step guide, do and don’ts to file a case in a consumer court.
Before moving towards the procedure, let’s understand what a consumer is. A consumer is a person who is a buyer, user, obtainer or even a beneficiary of goods. A consumer is a person who pays proper consideration to the seller.
When are you eligible to file a consumer complaint?
- If you are caused a loss or damage because of an unfair or restrictive trade exercise.
- If the goods purchased by you is damaged or defective.
- The services availed by you has any deficiency.
- The seller has charged you an excessive amount of goods than the stipulated price.
- Hazardous goods or services were sold to you.
Who can file a complaint?
- A consumer
- A voluntary consumer association
- Central or State government
- A group of consumers having the same interest.
- In case of the death of the consumer, the legal heir or the representative can file a complaint.
Who cannot file a complaint?
A person cannot file a complaint if he:
- Purchases a goods or avails a service free of cost.
- Purchases goods or hire a service for a commercial purpose.
- Hire a service under a contract of service.
Where to file the consumer complaint?
If you meet all the above criteria, the next step would be filing the consumer complaint. Here’s where you can do that:
- Goods/services valuing Rs. 20 Lakhs and less: If the goods you have purchased or the service you have hired costs you Rs. 20 lakhs or less in value, then you can file a complaint in District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (DCDRF) which is a district forum.
- Goods/services valuing more than Rs 20 Lakhs and less than Rs. 1 crore: If the goods you have purchased or the service you have hired costs you more than Rs. 20 lakhs and less than Rs. 1 crore in value, then you have to file a complaint in State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC) of the state you are situated in. The State commission has Appellate jurisdiction over the District Forum.
- Goods/services valuing more than Rs. 1 crore: If the goods you have purchased or the service you have hired costs you more than Rs. 1 crore or more, then you should file a complaint in National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). However, if you are not satisfied by the order of state commission, you can make an appeal to the National Commission.
How to file a Consumer Complaint?
Visit the website of the consumer court that is consumerhelpline.gov.in and register your complaint. After completion of that, you’ll receive a complaint number through which you can track the progress of your complaint. Before approaching the court, it is important to notify the seller or the person against whom the complaint is intended about the deficiency of service or unfair practice in order to give him an opportunity to rectify the deficiency.
Following documents are required to file a complaint:
- An application including the index page. Mention the title number and the page number of the attached documents.
- In case someone else is representing your case, Vakalatnama or Letter of Authority would be needed.
- In case of delay, an application explaining the genuine reason for the delay would be needed.
- Copies of the documents related to the dispute.
- Copies of the notices sent to the vendor, manufacturer or the seller/service provider.
- Copies of the complaint.
A complaint should contain
- Details of the problem in the product and on the ground of which the relief is claimed. Specific relief needs to be mentioned like legal costs, damages, and interest.
- List of documentary and other evidence.
- Submissions should be factual and logical.
- The complaint must be signed and verified.
Who can fight the case?
It is not necessary that you engage a lawyer to fight your case. You can fight your own case. However, it would be better if you consult a lawyer in order to get the best possible relief. A lawyer specializing in consumer litigation charges somewhere around INR 5,000-15,000 that includes sending a legal notice to the seller and proceeding the litigation before the appropriate consumer forum.
Details required to gather while filing the complaint.
- Name and Address of the complainer.
- Name and address of the party on which the case is filed.
- Date of the purchase made or service hired.
- Amount paid for the purchase or service.
- Specific details of the goods purchased.
- The complaint should be signed by the complainant.
- You must state the relief you are seeking.
If you are still thinking whether to file a complaint or not, here are some interesting success stories of people that will push you a little to fight for your justice.
BTech student sued Snapdeal and iPhone 5s Gold for Rs. 68 –
Nikhil Bansal, a Punjab University student studying BTech spotted a huge discount of 99.7% on iPhone 5s Gold on Snapdeal. The price after the discount totaled Rs. 68. Nikhil instantly booked the phone. But soon his order got canceled as ‘Technical defect’. He filed a complaint against Snapdeal at district consumer forum. Within some days, a judgment was passed in his favor where the court ordered Snapdeal to deliver the product to him in Rs. 68 along with Rs. 2000 as a penalty. When Snapdeal tried to fight back, the penalty increased to Rs. 10,000. To know more, click here.
Fairness cream doesn’t make the skin fair in 4 weeks –
A student felt cheated when he didn’t get fair from a fairness cream in 4 weeks as shown in the advertisement for the cream. After he filed a case on this huge healthcare giant Emami, the court fined Rs. 15 lakh on the company. Emami was also asked to withdraw advertisements of its Fair and Handsome cream. To know more, click here.
It is high time that we become aware of our rights and do the needful not only for us but for the sake of every consumer in the country. To know in detail about filing a consumer case, click here.