HOW TO FILE A CONSUMER CASE?

By Team Legal Helpline India, February 12, 2021

Consumer case is filed before the Consumer Forum at District if the value of the goods and services is below 20 Lakhs. If it is between 20 Lakhs to 2 Crores, then the consumer case is filed in the State Consumer Commission.

If the value of the goods and services is above 2 Crores, then the consumer case is filed before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission or NCDRC as we call it.

WHO CAN FILE A CONSUMER CASE?

Any person who has paid for some goods or services and there is a deficiency in the said goods and services can file a consumer case. Before filing the consumer case, the consumer has to give notice to the seller of the goods and services with all details of the deficiency of the goods and services.

If the notice of the consumer is not complied with and the goods or services are not rectified or returned, then he can file the consumer case before the consumer court based on the value of the goods and services.

THE FORMAT OF CONSUMER NOTICE:

There is no format of a consumer notice prescribed however under general parlance, the consumer notice should contain the full particulars of the goods and services purchased, the price paid, the date of purchase. The proof of purchase of the said goods and services should be attached with the details of the deficiency as being faced by the consumer.

It is better to send the notice to the main company and its reseller, the dealer from whom the goods and services are purchased.

The notice should be sent, by all means, email, by hand, registered post if possible so that the seller or the service provider may not deny the receipt of the notice at any stage subsequently.

A reasonable period of one week, two weeks, based on the nature of goods or services should be given in the notice for rectifying or replacing the same and the problems faced by the consumer.

Download format of consumer notice here

FORMAT OF THE CONSUMER COMPLAINT:

The format of consumer complaint is not prescribed under The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 to keep it easy for the common man. The complaint can be in any format giving details of the deficiency. It should be clearly written or typed on paper. The name and address of the complainant, as well as the seller, should be given with full particulars.

The details of the goods and services so purchased should also be given with specific details with the date and value.

The chain of events leading to the deficiency of services from the date of the problem should be given in a chronological manner to trace the origin of the dispute.

All supportive documents such as bills, invoices, warranty/guarantee cards, etc should be attached.

The documents showing attempts to redressal the problem should also be attached. If any notice has been sent, the copy with the postal receipt is attached. If any email, words app, SMS message, or complaint on the website is made, it should also be printed and attached showing the details of the sender and the receipt.

The problem or dispute related to deficiency should be specifically given with all details so as to ascertain the real deficiency of services.

In the last, the prayer for repair/replacement of the goods or services or refund should be made specifically with a prayer for the cost of the litigation and compensation commensurate with the loss of value of money, harassment should be claimed.

The complaint should be signed on all pages and all documents being attached should be attested duly with signatures of the complainant by writing “True Copy”.

Download format of consumer complaint.

PROCESS OF LODGING THE COMPLAINT:

The process for lodging the complaint is different for the District Forum, State Forum, and the National Forum hence one needs to follow the same.

District Forum, the complaint with all annexures and documents with the requisite fees by way of Pay Order,  duly signed is filed in duplicate copy with a file cover, then listed for hearing before the court.

The complaint before State Forum is filed with double space typed copies of the complaint, documents, and the requisite fees in two copies with file covers.

The complaint called, the Original Application is filed before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in five sets with a proper index describing all pages and page numbers with the fees as prescribed and applicable.

PROCESS OF HEARING:

The complaints are listed before the courts for hearing and based on which the other party is asked to submit their reply and then the final order is passed based on all pleadings, documents, and pieces of evidence if any.

During the hearing of the complaint, the members of the forum or commission who are well versed with the latest law quickly pick up the issue in dispute and decided the matter based on entire facts.

EXECUTION OF THE ORDERS OF CONSUMER COURT:

Once the final order is passed by the consumer court, the aggrieved party has a right to agitate the said order in appeal before the next higher forum. In case the case is finally decided and the aggrieved party does not file any appeal then the order is to be executed by the consumer.

The provisions of execution of the orders of the consumer court are under Section 25 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

The beneficiary or the consumer is required to file an execution application after one month before the court has passed the order. The notice of the execution is served on the seller or the service provider and then execution is ordered.

The consumer courts have ample powers under Section 27 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 to impose a penalty which may be imprisonment. The seller or the service provider is bound by such orders as the execution order is executed by the police in case of default.

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