Process Of Filing Of A Case Before The Consumer Court

Before filing a complaint in any of the forums, consumers are always advised to issue legal notice to the seller or manufacturer. Grievances can be clearly mentioned where consumers can ask for damages. Our legal experts help you to draft such notices where most of the compromise can be done before going to any forum.

Who can file a consumer case?

  1. Consumer
  2. Voluntary Consumer Organisation
  3. Central or State Govt
  4. One or  more consumers having same interest
  5. Consumer’s legal heirs and representatives
How Lead India helps in filing a case in consumer court?

Our consultant will discuss the issue over a 24X7 helpline “Samadhan”

Step 1

A detailed analysis of your case will be done by an experienced lawyer

Step 2

You will be able to track your case with a personal account

Step 3

Overview

One of the major reasons behind consumers feeling hassled at the thought of raising their complaints before the Consumer court is lack of awareness with regards to the process as well as the documents required in filing the case. A consumer can file a complaint before a District Forum, State Commission, or National Commission, all of which are empowered by the Consumer Protection Act to promote and safeguard consumer rights. Based on the complaints made by the consumer, the cases are adjudged and necessary relief in the form of damages or compensation is given by the consumer court. However, the cases must be filed within a period of 2 years from the day of the cause of action.

Enactment Of Consumer Protection Act,1986

Even though the awareness of consumer rights has increased in today’s world, individuals still face challenges while filing complaints in the consumer court in order to get justice.  On the other hand, due to a lengthy procedure of paperwork as well as legal documentation, the individuals hesitate to pursue their complaints.

One of the biggest advantages in consumer cases is that an individual can fight their own case in the consumer court without a lawyer. However, to file a complaint in accordance with the provisions it is better to seek the help of professional lawyers. The central government enacted the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 to protect the interest of the consumers. This Act is applicable all over India. The statutory enactment empowers any such individual facing issues or is not satisfied with any kind of service provider to move to consumer court to file their case. The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 protects consumers against scams and fraud and lays down the process of how to file a case in consumer court in India. It also provides speedy resolution of these issues.

Types Of Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies

Before filing a complaint in the consumer court, one needs to take care that the complaint has been filed before the jurisdiction has the authority to adjudicate such a case. The jurisdiction of the court having authority to adjudicate is ascertained by the value of the claim made in the complaint. This implies that based on the pecuniary jurisdiction of the court, cases are adjudged. A three-tier redressal forum is provided in the Consumer Protection Act, where the complaints can be filed based on the pecuniary limit. Following is the list of agencies along with their pecuniary jurisdiction-

  • District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (DCDRF)- District Forum is established in every district. Each forum consists of 3 members. Under this forum, the value of the claim in the complaint must be up to 20 lakhs.
  • State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC)- As the name suggests, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission is established in every state. Both original complaints, as well as appeals, are dealt with under this Commission. If the value of the claim is within Rs 20 lakhs-1 crore, then a complaint or appeal can be made under this Commission.
  • National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC)- It is located in New Delhi and is considered the highest forum of the three-tier redressal forum. The pecuniary jurisdiction of this forum is when the value of the claim of the complaint is more than 1 crore. Appeals from SRDC are heard by this forum.

Procedure Of Filing A Complaint In The Consumer Court

  1. Legal Notice- The aggrieved party shall send a legal notice to the service provider for the loss suffered due to breach of service. In the notice, the intention of the complainant is communicated to the service provider. The notice informs the service provider that due to defects in goods or lack of service, the complaint will resort to litigation. 
  2. Drafting of the complaint- When the service provider shows no intention or willingness to offer remedy or compensation, the complainant shall file a formal well-drafted complaint under the Act. The complaint must contain the following-
    • Name, address, description of both the parties.
    • Cause of action based on which the complaint is being made.
    • The necessary facts must be stated while drafting the complaint. 
    • The relief was claimed by the complainant is in accordance with the facts of the case.
    • A signature along with verification must be made by the complainant or the agent authorized to file a complaint on behalf of the complainant. An authorization letter should be attached with the complaint, in the case where a person other than the complainant is authorized to file the case in consumer court.
  3. Relevant Documents- Documents such as a copy of the bill, receipt, delivery or packaging, warranty, or guarantee certificates must be attached along with the complaint.
  4. Appropriate Jurisdiction- As mentioned earlier, a complaint must be made before the court has the authority to adjudicate the case. Thus, based on the pecuniary value of the claim the complaint must be filed before the appropriate jurisdiction.
  5. Payment of Court Fees- Prescribed court fees must be paid along with the filing of a complaint.
  6. Submission of affidavit- The complaint must also have an affidavit attached with the complaint while filing the case in the consumer court. The affidavit submitted with the complaint states the facts presented and statements made by the consumer are true to his or her knowledge.

Reliefs Granted Under The Consumer Protection Act

  • Consumers shall obtain the refund amount paid by them while buying the product. The additional damages suffered by the consumer, such as litigation costs shall also be granted to the consumer. These claims will be granted provided the consumer has mentioned the same in the complaint. 
  • Removal of Defects i.e. an order shall be passed by the Consumer court for restoring the damage or removing the defects after finding that there exists a material defect in the product.
  • An order for replacing the goods provided by the service provider shall be made if feasible. 
  • If the complainant can prove that they have suffered physical, mental, or such loss or damage for using such product or goods or services then an order for compensation shall be granted. 
  • Imposing a ban on the sale of hazardous goods and their withdrawal from the market.
  • The consumer court can also order to remove the lack of service, if possible. 
  • In case of unfair or restrictive trade practices an order shall be made for discontinuing the same in such places where the cause of action is in practice. Such practices attract a complete or conditional ban from the authority for such practices.

Limitation Period For Filing Consumer Case

The limitation period for filing any consumer case is 2 years from the date of cause of action or when the deficiency in the service or defect in the goods or service comes to the knowledge of the complainant. A complaint is allowed to be filed after the limitation period of 2 years provided the District Forum finds the reason for the delay in filing the complaint to be just and reasonable. Thus, if the forum finds there exists a sufficient reason for not filing the case, it may allow for filing the same after the limitation period. However, the forum can disregard the filing if no such reasonable ground for the delay in filing the case is found.

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FAQs On Consumer Court Issue

Following are the grounds for filing a complaint-

  • If the service provider has adopted unfair trade practice or a restrictive trade practice;
  • Defective goods, whether already purchased or agreed to be purchased by the complainant;
  • Lack in providing services, whether hired or availed or agreed to be hired or availed;
  • Overcharging of goods or services in excess of the price that may have been fixed by law or displayed on the packaging of goods or the price list exhibited or so agreed between the parties;
  • Selling or offering to sell hazardous goods or services which pose a threat to life and safety when used or availed provided the trader could know that the goods or services are hazardous by due diligence.

The following Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies that are responsible for protecting the interest of consumers-

  • District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (DCDRF)
  • State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC)
  • The Documents of Record i.e. the Copy of the complaint filed, the proofs, evidence if any, the material placed on record and other documents. The documents must bear the correct name and address of the parties.
  • A certified copy of the order passed by the District Forum.
  • Four copies to be filed in Court and additional copies to be served on each Respondent.
  • A copy of Interim orders passed by the District Forum or related Petitions to the case to be attached and submitted along with an Affidavit.
  • Application for Condonation of Delay (if any) with reasons to be submitted along with an Affidavit.
  • A statutory deposit of Rs 25,000 or 50% of the award or the compensation amount, whichever is less, is to be made by the Appellant / Opposite parties.

Yes, both the complaint as well as the party accused have the right to appeal against the order of any of the forums. However, law allows filing of an appeal in the following hierarchical order-

  • District Forum
  • State Forum
  • National Forum
  • Supreme Court

Yes, it is mandatory to send a legal notice before filing a Consumer Case. A legal notice gives an opportunity to settle the matter without approaching the Forum if the Opposite Party is willing to offer compensation or any other remedy. Further, it also brings to their knowledge the possibility of litigation.

Yes, one can file a consumer case online by registering on the official website of https://consumerhelpline.gov.in/.

The law does not specify a time limit within which the Consumer Forum should adjudicate complaints. The Forums are overburdened due to the 3 tier Appeal structure. However, the average time may range anywhere from 1 year to 5 years. If an appeal is filed against the order, an additional time of 1-3 years may be taken by the Forum.

How Lead India Can Help You?

  1. Trustworthy & Confidential - We assure you that all your personal details & documents must be kept private. We never share these details with anyone.   
  2. Expert Advice – With help of top-rated lawyers dealing with consumer cases, you can draft a proper legal notice for non-performance of an agreement. Our professional lawyers will make sure to seek the appropriate relief and justice for the aggrieved consumer.
  3. Zero Stress –The party does not have to worry about drafting a legal notice and drafting the complaint. Our Associate will perform all these procedures.
  4. Top Quality Lawyers - Lead India will help you to choose among the best consumer court lawyers for drafting complaints and filing legal notices in case of issues faced by the consumer. There are different associates who work with us, you can choose a lawyer depending upon their practice area, experience & user rating. 
  5. Track Your Case - We provide you the opportunity to track your cases from the online dashboard. You can easily track your application or document status, payment status, etc.

Trishna Kumari

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