How To File A Consumer Complaint In Consumer Forum in India?

Published on 12 May 2018 by Shivi

Sellers, nowadays, rely on unfair trade practices and try to pass on a fake or inferior quality product to the buyer. To save on the costs and in a race to earn more profits, sellers or service providers usually end up ignoring the interest of a consumer. The consumer has to pay a huge price for not only the product or service but also for the consumer case in a consumer forum that follows.

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is the primary legislation that protects the interest of consumers and lays down the legal remedy for the consumer in case they receive substandard, faulty or deficient goods or services.

Who is a Consumer?

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 defines a consumer as someone who purchases any goods or services for his personal use. Under the Act, the following person is considered as a consumer:

  1. Any person who buys a product.

  2. Any person who avails any service.

  3. Any person who uses a product with the approval of the person who bought that product.

  4. Any person who avails the service with the approval of the person who employed the service.

However, the Act excludes the following people from the definition of a consumer who can file a consumer complaint in a court:

  1. Anyone who obtains goods or services for free.

  2. A person who obtains goods or services for the purpose of resale.

  3. Anyone who obtains goods or services for the purpose of trading.

When can a consumer complaint be filed in consumer court?

A consumer case can be filed in any of the following cases:

  1. The goods suffer from any defect.

  2. The services suffer from any deficiency.

  3. The seller or service provider follows restrictive trade practice. This means that the vendor agrees to sell the product or provide the service only if the consumer agrees to buy or hire some other goods or services. This condition deprives the consumer of his or her right to choose and is restrictive in nature.

  4. The seller or service provider follows unfair trade practice. An unfair trade practice means a deception created by the vendor to promote the sale of the product or the service. Making of false statements about the goods or the services, the making of a false guarantee concerning the goods or services, or making false statements against the goods or services of another person with a view to selling more of particular goods or services are all cases of unfair trade practice.

  5. The products or services are sold in a manner which violates any law.

What are consumer courts in India?

The different consumer courts in India are divided into 3 tiers as per the total amount of the case and the appeal that lies from the lower tier. The consumer forums in India are as follows:

  1. District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum: The value of the goods or services and the compensation does not exceed Rs. 20 lakhs.

  2. State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission: The value of the goods or services and compensation is more than Rs. 20 lakhs but less than Rs. 1 crore as well as appeals against the orders of any District Forum within the State.

  3. National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission: The value of the goods or services and compensation is more than Rs. 1 crore; as well as appeals against the orders of any State Commission.

How to file a case in consumer court in India?

Before filing a case with the consumer court, the consumer must send a written notice to the seller or service provider through a good consumer case lawyer in India. The notice must clearly state the grievances of the consumer and the action required.

These grounds could be a defect in the goods, a deficiency in the services, a restrictive or an unfair trade practice by the vendor, overcharging of the price of the product or service, the sale of dangerous or unsafe products without proper instructions and so on.

The action needed to be taken from the seller or service provider includes removal of defects or deficiencies from the goods or services, replacement of defective goods or payment of compensation. If the vendor refuses to address the allegations or does not respond to the notice, the consumer can file a consumer complaint with the appropriate consumer court in India.

However, the consumer case must be filed within 2 years from the date of the cause of action i.e. when the consumer first faced the problem or came to know about the grievance. The consumer courts may refuse to grant any relief even if there is a clear violation of a consumer’s right unless the consumer proves reasonable grounds for the delay to the court and the court pardons such delay.

A consumer complaint can be filed by the consumer himself or herself, by a group of consumers having the same interest, by a registered voluntary consumer association, by the Government through a consumer court advocate in India. The process involves:

  1. Filing of an application: To seek relief from a consumer forum in India, a consumer complaint must be filed by the consumer. The complaint must include the following requisites:

    1. An introduction to the parties

    2. Details of the transaction

    3. Details of the problem faced i.e. the defect/deficiency/restrictive or unfair trade practice

    4. The evidence of written complaint or notice sent to seller or service provider and the reply received in return.

    5. The relief sought from the seller or service provider.

  2. Gathering supporting documents: The following supporting documents must be attached to the consumer complaint:

    1. Any receipt, voucher, delivery note, bill, invoice, etc.

    2. An affidavit stating that the contents of the complaint are complete, true and correct

    3. An index of the documents submitted

    4. A receipt of payment of court fees

  3. Submitting the documents: The above documents have to be prepared in minimum 5 sets of originals and filed with the proper court. In addition, one set of documents has to be submitted for each vendor named in the complaint. These documents can be submitted to the proper court or can be sent to it by registered post.

  4. Payment of court fee: The court fees of a consumer court are payable depending on the total claim. The court fees can be paid by way of a demand draft drawn in favour of the particular court. The amount is calculated as under

  • For total claim up to  Rs. 1 Lakh, court fees are Rs. 100.

  • For total claim up to Rs. 5 Lakhs, court fees are Rs. 200.

  • For total claim up to Rs. 10 Lakhs, court fees are Rs. 400.

  • For total claim up to Rs. 20 Lakhs, court fees are Rs. 500.

  • For total claim up to Rs. 50 Lakhs, court fees are Rs. 2000.

  • For total claim over Rs. 1 Crore, court fees are Rs. 5000.

It is always suggested to advice the best consumer court lawyers in India to file a consumer complaint in a consumer court. Legistify connects you with the best consumer protection lawyers near you who can help you send a legal notice to a seller or file a case in a consumer court. Call us at 846-883-3013 or send us an email at [email protected] to get started.



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