The Consumer Court deals with the grievances of consumers and complaints related to services and products. The Court was established under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 to adjudicate upon the disputes relating to defective goods and services in India. There are three levels to it, i.e. District, State and National. A consumer can file a complaint depending upon the monetary limit.
By: Megha Gautam, 1st Year BBA-LL.b. student at Amity Law School, Noida
- District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum (DCRF): This forum is placed in every district and to file a claim, it should be within ₹ 20 Lakhs. An appeal can be filed in the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission. The fee of Court for the suits upto 1 Lakh, is none for the holders of Antyodaya Anna Yojana and otherwise, it is ₹ 100. For suits amounting upto 5 Lakhs, it is ₹ 200 and for amounts upto 10 Lakhs, it is ₹ 400. Futher, suits valued at 20 Lakhs is ₹ 500. This amount has to be submitted via a demand draft in the name of the President of DCRF, name of the district.
- State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (SCDRC): It is situated in every state and entertains both original and appellate complaints. To file a claim, it should be between ₹ 20 Lakhs to ₹ 1 crore. The Court fee for complaints falling between ₹ 20 Lakhs and ₹ 50 Lakhs is ₹ 2,000 and for complaints upto ₹ 1 crore is ₹ 4,000. The submissions are made in the name of the Registrar, name of the state via a demand draft.
- National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): It is placed in Delhi. To claim the value should exceed 1 crore. It also caters to the appeals from SCDRC. Further, an appeal can be made in the Supreme Court relating to the order of the NCDRC. The fee for complaints is ₹ 5, ooo. The fee is to be through demand draft in the favor of the Registrar of NCDRC.
A complaint can be filed by a consumer, a voluntary consumer association (registered under Companies Act, 1956, or any law), the state or the central government and when the customer is dead then his/her legal representatives or heirs. Two conditions should be fulfilled to file a valid and substantial complaint:
- The complained should be lodged within 2 years from the time of action
- The complainant must hold legal capacity, i.e. should be a major, solvent and sane.
Following are the steps to file a complaint in the Consumer Court:
- STEP 1: Inform via Notice
A notice is sent to the retailer or the service provider from whom the goods have been purchased about the defective or deficiency found. This notice attempts to rectify the defective goods or services without approaching the Court.
- STEP 2: Draft the Consumer complaint
When no compensation or remedy is provided from side of a service provider then a complaint should be filed in the Court which does not require involvement of a lawyer. It must contain following details:
- Name, address of both the complainant(s) and the opposite party.
- The date, venue and time and also the cause of action.
- Relevant facts of the case.
- The remedy or relief sort by the complainant(s).
- Signature as well as verification by either the complinant or his agent.
- STEP 3: A copy of relevant documents
It is important to attach the copy of material documents to support the cause of action. It should include:
- A copy of receipt of delivery, bill, packaging of the product. If it is an online purchase then also attach the copy of record of booking of goods.
- Guarantee/warranty certificates
- A copy of notice posted to the seller/manufacturer and also the copy of written complaint.
- STEP 4: Choose the appropriate forum
Depending on the monetary limit the correct forum should be approached. The value of the goods and services availed and the compensation sought help in determining the estimated value to be claimed.
- STEP 5: Pay Court fees
The prescribed fee is submitted depending upon the forum. The fee of court is determined by the amount of compensation as well as the value of goods.
- STEP 6: Attach an affidavit.
A person who files a case in the Court is required to also submit an affidavit among other things. It states that the statements and facts presented are true and not fabricated.
FOLLOWING ARE THE STEPS TO FILE E-COMPLAIN:
- STEP 1: The initial step is to go on the official website of the Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India which is https://consumerhelpline.gov.in/
- STEP 2: Now click on the User login on the top right corner of the page and the below mentioned screen appears. If you have not registered yourself then you should click on the Sign Up on the page.
- STEP 3: After clicking on Sign up, fill the essentials like the name, mail address and password. Thereafter, click on Sign Up and a new page opens which asks for the OTP which will be received on the registered mobile number. After filling the OTP click on submit.
- STEP 4: Now after registration go on Sign in and fill the mail address and password.
- STEP 5: After signing in a registration form appears. Fill in all the relevant details. This form actually provides for the filling of cause of action and details surrounding it. After this exercise, click on the submit button and the complaint is successfully filed.