With the changing of centuries, the trends are also changing. And with the change in trends, the markets are also changing. The theme ‘Let the buyer beware’ has been changed to ‘Customer is the King.’

And this little change in the theme has brought a disastrous change in the marketing practices. A consumer is now the king and has all rights to sue a marketer who uses unfair means of trade.

But from a long time, people have tried to avoid the courts as much as possible. This was because the courts not only took their times but sometimes would also make holes in their pockets.

Seeing the decreasing trust of people in the judiciary, the government started a new league of courts made just for the trade practices and to secure the customer. It also ensures that a minimum amount of money is spent and merely no time of the plaintiff is wasted.

With the coming of times, the government has taken necessary steps to bring us a step closer to our judiciary. Now, each person can file a case in consumer court without giving a second thought.

Many laws have been passed to protect consumers from ruthless exploitation. Some of them are:

  • Sale of Goods Act, 1936
  • The Indian Contract Act, 1872
  • The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
  • The Dangerous Drugs Act, 1952
  • Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1972

Etc.

There is a series of required procedures to file a complaint in consumer court. But before that, you need to know which court is right to appeal in.

  • For the cases with amount involved up to Rs. 5 lakhs: District Forum
  • For cases with the amount involved between Rs. 5 lakhs and Rs. 1crore: State Commission
  • For cases with the amount involved above 1 crore: National Commission.

You need to pay a small amount of fee as well to get your proceedings on a move. The fee as prescribed by the government is as follows.

Sr. No. Total value of goods or services and the compensation claimed Amount of fee payable.
  District Forum  
(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 Cardholders 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
  State Commission  
(6) Above twenty lakh and upto fifty lakh Rupees Rs. 2000
(7) Above fifty lakh and upto one crore Rupees Rs. 4000
  National Commission  
(8) Above one crore rupees Rs. 5000  

Documents required to file a complaint in Consumer Court

Before filing a complaint in the consumer court, you need to make sure that you have all the necessary documents. These may include:

  • A bill or an invoice for the purchase
  • Warranty card or SLA (optional)
  • Proof of payment; cheque or credit card statement (optional)
  • Any communication or record from the company which can point towards the negligence, insensitivity or lack of attention from the company.
  • Registered address of the company

Notice to the Company

Firstly, you are needed to send a legal notice to the company. Be detailed about your grievances and fill in the exact price of loss occurred. The notice can be printed on an A4 size paper. Make sure that you add the tracking feature with the post to generate a proof of the company receiving the notice.

File your complaint

There are some procedures to file a complaint in consumer court. Let’s have a look.

  • Along with your complaint and affidavit, attach the list of documents to strengthen your complaint. Attach only the photocopies of the evidentiary documents and not the originals. You may also need to sign a Vakalatnama, which is similar to a power of attorney, authorizing your lawyer to represent you in the suit.
  • You would have to approach Notary and file your complaint and notarize your affidavit. You would have to show your identity proof over there. Notarization is the process by which the court confirms that you are the person you say you are.
  • You’d be needing to make specific copies of your complaint to send it to different departments, after which you have to pay the fees of the court. Most of the time, you can pay via Demand Draft.

Once the fee has been paid, your complaint gets successfully registered and you get the date for the proceedings. The winning or losing all depends upon how good your evidences are and are these evidences able to state the defendant guilty or not.

Courts are there to help us, but lets first ourselves be active and see to our rights and responsibilities to become responsible buyers and citizens.