How To File A Consumer Complaint

Published on 08 Apr 2017 by Team

We are all consumers of goods and services in one way or the other. The moment we take birth on this earth we become consumers and are entitled to seek relief under the Consumer Protection Act. These days we see that consumers are cheated and harassed in many ways. At times they are provided with the inferior quality of goods, at times with less quantity than actually demanded whereas at other times the consumer is charged with excess prices than otherwise fixed for the commodity. The traders consider consumers as persons who are morons having paying capacity and can try to deceive them in every possible way. Therefore there was a strong need felt to protect the consumers

Following are the steps to be followed and points to be kept in mind while filing a consumer complaint at the District Forum or State or National commission.

Jurisdiction

Depending on the relief claimed, a consumer complaint will be filed with the District, State or National Commission. The best consumer court lawyers in India can help you in filing a consumer case with any of the following courts:

  • District Forum: When relief claimed is less than Rs. 20, 00, 000/-;

  • State Commission: When relief claimed is more than Rs. 20, 00, 000/- but less than Rs. 1, 00, 00, 000/-;
  • National Commission: When the relief claimed exceeds Rs. 1, 00, 00, 000/-.

Fee:

The prescribed fee payable for filing a complaint before the District Forum, State or National Commission is as follows:

Relief Claimed

Prescribed Fee

District Forum

Up to 1 Lakh          

Rs.100/-

1 Lakh to 5 Lakh      

Rs.200/-

5 Lakh to 10 Lakh       

Rs.400/-

10 Lakh to 20 Lakh   

Rs.500/-

State Commission

20 Lakh to 50 Lakh

Rs.2000

50 lakh to 1 crore

Rs.4000

National Commission

Above One Crore Rupees

Rs.5000

The prescribed has to be paid via Demand Draft. Rule 9A of the Consumer Protection Act says every complaint shall be accompanied by a crossed DD from a Nationalised Bank or crossed Indian postal order in favour of the President- District Forum, Registrar- State Commission, or Registrar NCDRC, payable at the respective place where the District Forum, State Commission or National Commission is situated.

Appearance:

A consumer complaint can be filed by the consumer her/himself in person or by her/his authorised representative, with the help of a consumer case lawyer in India. The lawyer will draft and file the complaint with the forum that has proper jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Filing:

The following points should be kept in mind while filing a consumer complaint.

  • The complaint can be sent by Registered Post to the District Forum or State Commission.
  • Minimum of five copies of the complaint has to be filed.
  • Three copies have to be in a green legal paper (some forums accept white also) plus one for the Office of the Forum and one for the Opposite Party.
  • The complainant should keep one copy for her/himself and get a receiving on the same.
  • An additional copy for each opposite party has to be filed.

Since the Forum / Commission have the power to pass ex parte orders or dismiss your complaint, please ensure that you carry out regular follow-up after filing the complaint. Every hearing date has to be attended to prevent any damage to the complaint.

Representation:

  • The complaint should be signed by the complainant.
  • In case the complainant is authorising someone else to sign, the same should be accompanied by an authorisation letter.
  • In the event of the death of the complainant, the legal representatives can continue on her/his behalf.

Format and Content:

A consumer complaint should contain the following information:

  • Cause Title: Where the complaint is being filed and by who against who
  • Heading: Under what section of the Consumer Protection Act is it being filed.
  • Memo of parties: Included the name, description, and address of the complainant and the opposite party/parties.
  • Facts relating to the complaint and how it arose.
  • Sections under which the opposite parties are to be held liable.
  • How the parties are liable to be proceeded against and why are they answerable to the complainant.
  • Annexures: Copies of all relevant documents in support of allegations made in the complaint should be furnished.
  • A signed list of such documents should also be furnished along with the complaint.

Compensation:

  • In cases of damage due to negligence, negligence or deficiency must be alleged, defined and established in order to get compensation under the Act.
  • There is no ceiling on the compensation claimed, and hence the same may also be sought on account of consequential damage.
  • The value of relief claimed will include refunds, damages, litigation costs and interest.
  • For compensation, the total amount should be broken up and it should be explained how it was arrived at.
  • If the relief cannot be quantified, a notional value should be given to it.
  • The relief should be clearly stated, i.e. whether the complainant wants the removal of defects, replacement of goods, refund of excess price, refund of charges paid for deficient services, etc.

Important Points:

  • State the jurisdiction and how the case falls within that jurisdiction. Eg. whether the opposite party resides or carries on business or has a branch office or personally works within the jurisdiction of the Forum or whether the cause of action started within the Forum’s jurisdiction.
  • The cause of action can be defined as the factor from which this dispute arose.  l.The relief which the complainant is seeking: here state whether you want the removal of defects, replacement of goods, refund of excess price, refund of charges paid for deficient services, cessation of unfair trade practice, correction of misleading advertisements etc. apart from damages and costs of filing the complaint.
  • The period of limitation for a consumer complaint is two years from the day when the cause of action arose.
  • Condonation of delay is allowed in cases where there is a just cause for the delay.
  • A collective case can be filed by consumers facing the same problem.

Legistify connects you with the best lawyers in India and top Chartered Accountants in India with simple telephonic conversation or email. Call us at 846-883-3013 or send us an email at [email protected] to get started.


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