As a customer, you have a variety of rights under the Customer Protection Act of 1986.
If a retailer sold you a defective product or a service provider provided you with subpar treatment, you may be able to submit a consumer complaint to obtain legal recourse. A “consumer complaint” is a formal complaint filed with the appropriate consumer forum against a merchant or service provider. When a vendor or service provider declines to address the problem after receiving a legal notice, a complaint is made.
The complaint includes details and supporting materials explaining the flawed product or service as well as your demands for compensation and retribution. Since they are different from other courts and were established particularly to deliver justice for consumers, consumer courts in India are known for providing timely and effective legal aid.
Justifications for Making a Consumer Complaint
The following reasons can be used to file a nationwide consumer complaint:
Unfair business practises
To maximize revenues is every company’s ultimate goal. However, adopting unethical strategies like misleading customers, mispricing goods, and other wrongdoings continue to occur in the market. The term “unfair trade practices” is wide and includes negligent municipal authorities who neglected to place a warning sign while the road was still being constructed.
A private contractor was also found guilty of unfair business practices for failing to cover a manhole, which led to an accident. Therefore, if any form of unfair business behavior is used in a transaction, the consumer has the right to file a complaint with the proper venue.
Adulteration of food
To reduce the quality of food and increase profit, the Indian Penal Code views this practice as unfair competition. Examples of the same include mixing ghee, salt, and sawdust. Even the adulteration of pharmaceuticals falls within the heading of unfair consumer practices. Adulteration threatens both life and consumerism. Customers should thus continuously report food adulteration.
Brief weights and measurements
A typical general shop routinely cheats its consumers by underweighing their purchases. Even though the scale reads one kilogramme, the item only weighs roughly 800 grams. The interests of consumers are regarded to be seriously endangered by these kinds of wrongdoing.
In this day of rapid technology, everything is accessible online. Online retailers regularly attempt to fool clients by providing false information, which is one disadvantage of doing business with them. The reach of consumer protection laws is so far that they even include online fraud.
Not keeping promises
If a firm makes a commitment, it must guarantee that it will keep its word. Some promises appear to be excellent, but if they can’t be delivered, it will lead to a lot of complaints, mistrust, and clients departing to work for other companies.
Poor customer service
Employees that fail to properly interact with customers, keep them waiting for too long, or ignore issues are providing poor customer service. Sometimes customer service representatives can’t address simple issues or give simple solutions. If they are unable to fix their difficulties, customers will start to complain in large numbers.
The Benefits of Making a Consumer Complaint
- You will receive a full refund of your money.
- If the products are defective or the service is subpar, it will be corrected.
- To replace the defective item.
- reimbursement for any costs incurred in filing the complaint and in attending court.
- recompense for any suffering or loss (including mental agony).
- You can order the vendor to stop engaging in unfair trade practices.
- The District or State where the seller resides or conducts their business, as well as the place of the sale or the provider of the service, are all acceptable venues for the national consumer complaint.
- If the purchase was conducted online, the complaint should be made at the address listed there on the seller’s website under the section describing how disputes will be handled.
Basic Rights of a Consumer under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986
1) The right to be protected from unfair trade practices.
2) The right to be knowledgeable about the services or goods.
3) The right to be certain that the services or goods will be of the required quality.
4) The right to be heard in the event of a violation of the right to consumption.
5) The right to seek remedy in the event of injury.
6) The right to information as a consumer.
If a customer’s basic rights are violated, it is the consumer’s obligation to submit a consumer complaint.
Who may submit a complaint as a consumer?
Under the Consumer Protection Act, if you are one of the following, you may file a National Consumer Complaint:
- A consumer is a person who purchases goods or uses services for their own use (but not for resale or retail purposes).
- Any recognised volunteer organization that represents consumers (e.g. The Consumer Guidance Society of India).
- a collection of customers with similar interests.
- those who are a dead customer’s lawful heirs.
- a customer’s family
- The legal guardian of the customer who is a minor.
The procedure for Filing a Complaint National Consumer Forum
The procedures for filing a consumer complaint in National Consumer Forum are discussed below:-
- If the Consumer falls within the pecuniary jurisdiction, he or she may register a complaint immediately with the SCDRC or file an appeal within 30 days of the order’s issuance.
- The court fee for registering a case with the NCDRC is Rs 5,000, and the demand draft should be made out to The Registrar, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
- There is no charge for submitting an appeal with the National or State Commission.
Send a written notification.
Writing a letter detailing the problem and your reasons for being unhappy with the goods or services is the first step.
What should be in your notification:
In the notice, you should not:
It is strongly encouraged that you speak with a lawyer and have them send the notification on official letterhead if your claim is worth more than Rs. 10,000. This will demonstrate to the fraudster that you plan to file a lawsuit.
Wait for the other person to respond.
The business will probably respond to your complaint once you deliver the legal notice. You could receive a fair pay from some. You must be aware of the proper compensation that you find adequate at this time. You won’t go far by seeking a huge monetary settlement since the courts won’t consider it. If you don’t hear back within the allotted time period, which is typically fifteen days, you can get in touch with the national consumer forum.
Choosing the right forum
Depending on the cost of the goods or services you bought or the amount of compensation you want, you can get in touch with the appropriate consumer forum or commission, such as the District Forum, State Commission, or National Commission. You have two options when submitting a complaint: either do it yourself or hire a lawyer to represent you. The processes might last anywhere from six to eighteen months.
Write a Complaint and Submit It
When making a written complaint, you must adhere to the specific formatting requirements of each topic. Include any and all supporting documentation for your complaint, like invoices, receipts, delivery challans, letters (including emails and SMS), and so on. In order to convince the court that you tried to resolve the dispute outside of court, you must present the legal notice that you issued to the vendor or service provider.
Cost of a Consumer Complaint in Court
A national consumer complaint must be filed in court, and there is a fee:
If you win the lawsuit, the court will compel the seller to pay all of your legal costs, including court costs and attorney fees.
Customers who are unhappy about the infringement of their rights as consumers may complain both online and offline. The Customer Affairs Department has developed an online platform called INGRAM to resolve consumer concerns (Integrated Grievance Address Mechanism).