Procedure to file a case in Consumer Court [2020] [HOW TO]

Author: Snehal Tanaji Shirke 
College: Parvatibai Jondhale Women’s Law College, S.N.D.T. University, Mumbai

Introduction

The court which aims to deal with cases pertaining to consumer complaints or grievances and disputes is known as consumer court. These courts are specially established to protect the rights of consumers. Consumers are at liberty to file the case if there is a violation of their rights. A consumer court is a court established under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. To remediate the consumer and provide for a redressal mechanism, the Consumer Protection Act,1986 came into force.

The objective of Consumer Court

  • To provide simple and speedy redressal
  • To promote and provide the rights of the consumer
  • To set up the consumer protection council to educate the consumers and to make them aware of the rights.
  • To redress disputes of consumers and matters connected with them.

Three tier System of Consumer Court

  1. At District level – District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (DCDRF)
  2. At State Level – State Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum (SCDRF)
  3. At National Level – National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (NCDRC)

Who is a Consumer?

Any individual who purchases products or services for his personal use and not for manufacturing or resale is called a consumer. The person has purchased goods or availed some services in exchange for some value, i.e. he/she has paid money.

Consumer rating

Rights of consumer

  • Rights to be protected from all types of hazardous goods and services.
  • Right to be informed
  • Right to assured
  • Right to seek redressal whenever consumer rights have infringed
  • Right to choose
  • Right to heard

Who can file a Complaint before Consumer Court?

  • The Consumer himself
  • One or more consumers who have the same interest
  • If consumer dies, then his legal representative
  • Voluntary Consumer Association
  • Central Government or State Government

Grounds for filing a complaint before Consumer Court

  • Unfair trade practices
  • Misleading information
  • Poor customer service
  • Food adulteration
  • Manufacturing defects

When the Complaint to be filed before the Consumer Court

Before the Consumer Court, the complaint can be filed by the consumer, legal representative if the statutory period of 2 years from the date of cause of action has not expired and that complaint must have the legal capacity to file the complaint. No stamp paper is required to register a complaint.

Consumer Protection

How to file a case in the Consumer Court

Procedure to file a complaint in the Consumer Court

Notice

It is the first step before filing a formal complaint. An aggrieved customer has to send the notice to the service provider who has provided the goods. It states the intention of the complainant about the defects in the goods, unfair practices. This is to check whether the party is willing to offer the compensation to make the good the loss suffered by the consumer. In case if the service provider refuses or neglects to compensate, the consumer can move to the consumer court.

Drafting of consumer complaint

If the service provider is not ready to compensate for the loss the complainant needs to file a formal complaint under the Consumer Protection Act,1986. It is not necessary to require a lawyer or any pleader to file a complaint.

The following details must be required to be specified:

  • The name and complete address of the complainant
  • The name and address of the opposite party.
  • Date of purchase of Goods or service
  • Particulars of the goods and details of services.
  • Cause of action
  • Relevant facts on cause of action
  • Relief claimed by the complainant i.e. removal of defects from the goods, refund of price paid etc.
  • Signature and verification by the complainant and the authorized agent.
  • Attachments of documents:

The documents which support the case act as evidence and are important. Copy of bill, delivery receipt, Packaging, a record of online booking. Warranty/Guarantee cards. Copy of the written complaint and notice. Such documents are necessary while filing a complaint to prove your case.

 Appropriate forums or Consumer Courts

The statement of jurisdiction should be made in the complaint as to how the case falls within the jurisdiction of the Consumer forum or consumer court. While filing a case it is important to choose the appropriate forum to depend on the pecuniary jurisdiction.

District forum – Up to 20 lakhs

State Commission – 20 lakhs to 1 crore

National Commission – more than 1 Crore

Payment of fees

The complainant needs to pay the fees according to the subject matter. Along with the complaint particular fee is to be paid depending upon the forum.

        Under District Consumer Redressal Commission:

  • If the value of the goods and services claimed up to 1 lakh the court fee to pay is INR 100.
  • If the value of the goods and services claimed between 1 lakh to 5 lakh the court fee to pay is INR 200.
  • If the value of the goods and service claimed is between 5 lakhs to 10 lakhs the court fee to pay is INR 400.
  • If the value of the goods and services claimed is between 10 lakhs to 20 lakhs the court fee to pay is INR 500.

         Under State Consumer Redressal Forum:

  • If the value of goods and services claimed is between 20 lakhs to 50 lakhs rupees then the court fee is INR 2000.
  • If the value of goods and services claimed is between 50 lakhs to 1 crore rupees then the then the court fee is INR 4000.

         Under National Consumer District Resolution Commission:

  • If the value of goods and services claimed is above 1 crore rupees then the court fee is INR 5000.
  • Affidavit submission:

An affidavit has to be submitted along with the complaint and it must state that the facts presented and any statements made by the consumer are true to his/her knowledge.

Signature

A signature should be put at the end of the complaint. Signature gives validity to the complaint. The consumer may argue the case on his own or through the authorized representative.

Is there any exemption from the payment of fees?

The complainants who are below the Poverty line shall be entitled from the payment of a fee for complaint up to rupees one lakh on the production of an attested copy of the Antyodaya Anna Yojana Card.

How to file a case in the District Consumer Redressal Forum?

The state commission redressal forum or the District Consumer Court works at the district level. The complainant can make a complaint on the plain paper and needed to be notarized then can be filed in person or through his authorized agent. Four copies of the complaint plus the copy to the opposite party need to be submitted. Court fees to be paid accordingly as we discussed earlier. Such court fees need to be submitted through a demand draft made out to the president, consumer dispute redressal forum.

How to file a case in the State Consumer Redressal Commission?

The state commission redressal Commission or the State Consumer Court works at the state level and also this commission has appellate jurisdiction over District Forum. Hence, the complainant either file an original complaint or can file an appeal against the district forum order within 30 days. 4 copies to be submitted and also the copies to the other parties. Then court fee is required to be paid and such court fees to be paid with the demand draft in favor of the registrar and the State Commission and should be paid to that particular state only.

How to file a case in the National Consumer Redressal Commission?

The National Consumer Redressal Commission or the National Consumer Court works at the national level. The consumer can file the original complaint or an appeal against the order passed by the State Consumer Redressal Forums within 30 days. No fees are charged for appeal cases in the State Consumer Redressal Forum as well as the National Consumer Redressal Forum. The court fees need to be paid by the complainant is INR 5000 by demand draft in favor of Registrar, National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission. If the complainant is not satisfied with the order passed by the National Consumer Dispute Resolution Method he can approach the supreme court.


Online Procedure

How to file consumer complaint online?

The complainant shall file a complaint online also. This method is easy to file a complaint as compared to the offline or physical method. The consumer co-ordination council along with the Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India runs the consumer online resource to redress the consumer complaints. With the help of the official website (consumerhelpline.gov.in), we can file a complaint online.

Procedure to file an online consumer complaint in India

Step1: firstly, register on the website (consumerhelpline.gov.in) by clicking on new user.

Step 2: Complainant is required to provide details like name, address, email id, contact number etc.

Step 3: After completing the registration process click on log in and fill in the username and passwords. Then go to the file complaint so as to file a complaint.

Step 4: Then complainant have to select the complaint type depend on the goods and service. In case of online shopping complaint will have to select the online shopping option.

Step 5: Now the registration form will open and complainant need to fill the form with necessary details of the problem.

Step 6: Supporting documents can be attached like bills, warranty card as a proof to the dealer or service provider.

Step 7: After clicking on the submit button, the complaint will be submitted to the registered office.

Complainants are expected to get the resolution within three months as per the websites.

Advantages to file a complaint online

  1. It is a time saving method.
  2. Complaint can be filed through any electronic device such as mobile or Computer.
  3. It can be filed the case from any location.
  4. Fast and on time service will make the process easy.
  5. Complainant can check the complaint status online by just logging in within some minutes.
  6. Multiple complaints can be filed through the same log in.

Circumstances when a complaint cannot be filed before the Consumer Court

  1. A complaint after the expiry of limitation cannot be granted.
  2. A complaint on behalf of the public which consist of unidentifiable consumer which cannot be filed under the Act.
Consumer

Do you Know?

  1. National Consumer Day is observed in India on 24th December as the consumer protection act was enacted on this day of 1986.
  2. On 15th March 1962, John F Kennedy raised the issue of consumer rights. World’s Consumer Rights Day is celebrated on the 15th of March.

Conclusion

It can be concluded that the Consumer is the king of the market. He has the right to file a case in the consumer court when his rights get exploited by the seller. It is necessary that the consumer should become more aware of their rights. In my opinion, there is the improper implementation of consumer rights in real life and thus the education on consumer rights is needed from such exploitation.

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