ALL ABOUT CONSUMER FORUM AND PROCEDURE by Gauri Bandre@LEXCLIQ

Everyone around us is a shopaholic nowadays but have u ever wondered what will happen if you ordered a pen and get delivered by a swing or if you ordered a real Rolex and got a fake one instead. In this case, where would you file a complaint of fraud and are compensated for your loss?

To address the grievances and to get compensated a redressal mechanism was established under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 which was further amended in 2019. This act made several laws and formed a Consumer court to compensate and redress disputes in India. Consumer Court was further divided on the basis of the monetary transaction limit. In which District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum (DCDRF) is responsible to address when the amount is under 20 lakh. In-State Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum (SCDRRF) the limit is from 20lakh up to 1 cr and In National Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum (NCDRF) is the highest of all and addresses when the amount is above 1cr. Moreover, an appeal from the NCRDRF orderlies with that of the supreme court of India.

WHEN CAN ONE FILE A COMPLAINT?

In case of Unfair or restricted trade practices, defective or substandard products, Service Deficiency, Overcharging of goods when the price is fixed by the law, displayed on packaging, or agreed between both parties and lastly, Selling goods that are hazardous for life, safety, and property of the consumer.

WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE TO FILE A COMPLAINT?

Firstly, the aggrieved party sends a notice to the seller addressing his/her complaint informing about their intention to take action in cases not replied can give rise to an official complaint. Therefore, this becomes an informal attempt to settle the issue between the parties before going to an official forum. Now a complaint can be filed either physically or online through an e portal. Now in the case of an online portal the consumer needs to fill in the detail, attach certain documents along with the affidavit, and pay the required court fee amount.

WHO CAN FILE A CONSUMER COMPLAINT?

A complaint can be filed by any consumer, a voluntary consumer organization, the central government, or any state government, one or more consumers in the case have a complaint against the same interest and consumer’s legal heir or representative. The only requirement is that the person must have purchased the product for personal use only and not for resale purposes.

WHAT IS THE TIME LIMIT TO FILE A COMPLAINT?

A complaint must be filed within 2 years from the date of the action of deficiency or when the problem aroused. However, a complaint may also be filed after 2 years if the complainant satisfies the district forum that he/she has sufficient reasons for not filing the complaint within two years.

WHAT RELIEF IS PROVIDED UNDER THIS ACT?

Relief like a refund of the product price paid by the customer and additional compensation for any damage if claimed, Removal of defects which is proven to exist after conducting a test on the material. The passed order might ask to remove or fix the damages, Compensation for mental or physical damage suffered while owning or using the product, imposing a ban on life-threatening goods and their abomination from the market, Order of discontinuation of restrictive trade practice. The authority can impose a permanent or conditional ban on unfair service and Payment of the cost of the product and litigation claimed by the aggrieved party.

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