Where to file a Consumer Complaint (Jurisdiction )
If the relief claimed in the complaint is less than Rs. 20 lakh, then the complaint must be filed before the District Consumer Forum. If the relief claimed is between Rs. 20 lakh and Rs. 1 crore, then the complaint must be filed before the State Commission. When the relief claim exceeds Rs. 1 crore then the complaint must be filed before the National Commission at New Delhi. The jurisdiction of the tribunal – where the opposite party resides or carries on business or has a branch office or personally works within the jurisdiction of the Forum or where the cause of action (for defective, spurious, fake, substandard or dangerous goods OR deficient or delayed services or services not carried out OR for misleading advertisements OR for unfair trade practices) started within the Forum’s jurisdiction. The cause of action can be defined as the factor from which this dispute arose.
Prescribed Fee is payable for filing a complaint before the District Forum, State Commission or National Commission as follows:
|Sr. No.||Total value of goods or services and the compensation claimed||Amount of fee payable.|
|(1)||Upto one lakh Rupees – For complaints who are under the Below Poverty Line holding Antyodaya Anna Yojana cards.||Nil|
|(2)||Upto one lakh Rupees – For complaints other than Antyodaya Anna Yojana Card holders||Rs. 100|
|(3)||Above one lakh and upto five lakh Rupees||Rs. 200|
|(4)||Above five lakh and upto ten lakh Rupees||Rs.300|
|(5)||Above ten lakh and upto twenty lakh Rupees||Rs. 400|
|(6)||Above twenty lakh and upto fifty lakh Rupees||Rs. 2000|
|(7)||Above fifty lakh and upto one crore Rupees||Rs. 4000|
|(8)||Above one crore rupees||Rs. 5000|
You can pay this by Demand Draft in favour of “President, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
The relief which the complainant is seeking: here state whether you want removal of defects, replacement of goods, refund of excess price, refund of charges paid for deficient services, cessation of unfair trade practice, correction of misleading advertisements etc. apart from damages and costs of filing the complaint. You are also entitled to claim the costs of your complaint from the opposite party. Hence include that amount in your complaint.
The limitation period for filing complaint is two years from the date of the cause of action. In case the limitation period expires, the Forum or Commission may still take your complaint on board, if they are convinced about the reasonableness of the cause for the delay. However, do avoid delays, since you will be required to provide explanations for every single day.
Consumers facing the same problem can come together and file a single complaint. Enclosing a petition with the complaint stating that the facts and circumstances relating to the complaint and the relief claimed are the same for all the petitioners and that they may be allowed to join together and file a single complaint.
Procedure to file a complaint Documents required to file consumer complaint
Before a consumer complaint can be filed against a company, you need to ensure that you have all the supporting documentation that you need. These may include the following documents related to the purchase of the product from the company:
Send a Notice to company
In this step, you will be required to “officially” notify the company of your grievance. Be detailed about what it is that you are complaining about and what you expect the company to do. Be fair in your demands to the company.
For example, if a product you purchased for Rs.15000/- is broken due to no fault of yours, ask to either replace the product or refund Rs.15000/- + a small additional sum for any inconveniences caused; do not place unreasonable demands for Rs.50000/- or so :. You are also entitled to ask for interest on any amount paid, if you think you are eligible for it.
Also, when it comes to making demands, be sure to give the company more than one option. For example, company policy might prevent them from giving you a full refund, but they may be open to giving you a replacement product that is superior to the one you purchased. In other words, the more options you give the company, the better your chances are to get your grievance addressed without going to court. When you think of the hassles of going to court, being flexible here will ultimately help you out a lot!
Your notice can be printed in English on a regular A4 size page, signed by you and sent by post to the registered address of the company. Be sure to use either registered post with acknowledgement due or speed post with tracking feature. This is important as you will need legal proof that the company has received your notice.
File Your Complaint
There are several actions involved in this step as listed below:
Is Advocate required to file a complaint (or not) ?
There are people who would advice you for and against hiring an advocate or lawyer to represent you. The biggest advantage of hiring a lawyer is that The advocate will know what to do. The biggest disadvantage of hiring a lawyer is that good ones don’t come free. if your case is complicated, you have less time to spare and the compensation you seek is large, hire one. If your case is simple, you can spend up to 5 full days in a year for this purpose and defend your case, you are seeking low to medium compensation from the company, do it yourself.