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Consumer rights

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As a consumer, you are free to exercise your right and you can complain to consumer online center supported by Ministry of consumer affairs for any grievances

Right to Safety
Means right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services, which are hazardous to life and property. The purchased goods and services availed of should not only meet their immediate needs, but also fulfil long term interests.

Before purchasing, consumers should insist on the quality of the products as well as on the guarantee of the products and services. They should preferably purchase quality marked products such as ISI,AGMARK, etc

Right to be Informed
Means right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices.

Consumer should insist on getting all the information about the product or service before making a choice or a decision. This will enable him to act wisely and responsibly and also enable him to desist from falling prey to high pressure selling techniques.

Right to Choose
Means right to be assured, wherever possible of access to variety of goods and services at competitive price. In case of monopolies, it means right to be assured of satisfactory quality and service at a fair price. It also includes right to basic goods and services. This is because unrestricted right of the minority to choose can mean a denial for the majority of its fair share. This right can be better exercised in a competitive market where a variety of goods are available at competitive prices

Right to be heard
Means that consumer's interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums. It also includes right to be represented in various forums formed to consider the consumer's welfare.

The Consumers should form non-political and non-commercial consumer organizations which can be given representation in various committees formed by the Government and other bodies in matters relating to consumers.

Right to Seek redressal
Means right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers. It also includes right to fair settlement of the genuine grievances of the consumer.

Consumers must make complaint for their genuine grievances.Many a times their complaint may be of small value but its impact on the society as a whole may be very large. They can also take the help of consumer organisations in seeking redressal of their grievances.

Right to Consumer Education
Means the right to acquire the knowledge and skill to be an informed consumer throughout life.Ignorance of consumers, particularly of rural consumers, is mainly responsible for their exploitation. They should know their rights and must exercise them. Only then real consumer protection can be achieved with success.

Q)Who can file a complaint ?

A) Any person who can be termed as a consumer under the Act can make a complaint. The following are the persons who can file a complaint under the Act :

  • a consumer; or
  • any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act, 1956 or under any other law for the time being in force, or
  • the Central Government or any State Government,
  • one or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest.

Q) What are the issues to consider when filing a complaint?

A) You would have to check where the jurisdiction would lie and then ascertain the value of the claim. You will have to file your complaint depending upon the amount of money or compensation you want from the opposite party for the deficient service he has provided you or for the defective product that you have been sold. It is important to note that most Judges in these courts will be able to tell if you are unnecessarily filing a complaint & are just trying to make a quick buck.

Q) Where do I file my complaint?

Pecuniary Jurisdiction

  • In cases where the value of goods and services involved is less than Rs. 20 Lakhs in value, you will have to file the complaint in the District Forum constituted in the specified districts of a State.
  • In cases where the value of goods and services involved is more than Rs. 20 Lakhs in value but does not exceed Rs 1 crore you will have to file the complaint with the State Commission constituted in the capital cities of the different states
  • In cases where the value of goods and services involved is more than 1 crore in value then you can file a complaint with the National Commission which has been constituted only in New Delhi.

Territorial Jurisdiction.

The jurisdiction of the complaint is determined by the facts of the case and where the cause of action arises. Further, when you file a complaint, the area in which the opposite party resides or carries on his work or business will also have to be taken into consideration by you. This means that if you are filing a complaint against a service provider for a sum below 20 lakhs you would have to approach the District Forum in the jurisdiction where the cause of action arose. If the matter is above 20 lakhs but below 1 crore then it would be filed in the State Commission within which State the trader/ service provider/ manufacturer is located in the state in which the trader resides or works in. These two factors will have to be kept in mind while filing your complaint.

Q) How many Consumer Courts are there?

A) There are consumer forums at the District, State and National level. At present, there are 569 District Forums, 33 State Commissions & the highest body which is the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) having its office at Janpath Bhawan, A Wing, 5th Floor, Janpath , New Delhi. The District Forums are headed by the person who is or has been or is eligible to be appointed as a District Judge and the State Commissions are headed by a person who is or has been a Judge of High Court. The National Commission is headed by a sitting or retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India.

Hierarchy of Consumer Courts in India
(Visual Representation)

Q) Are other Court Excluded from hearing consumer disputes?

A) The jurisdiction of other courts to hear consumer disputes is not excluded. This is because the Parliament of India felt it was necessary to have an efficient & convenient mechanism to address and resolve the various consumer complaints across the country. As a result it created a three-tier remedial machinery for the inexpensive and quick disposal of consumer complaints. As these forums only deal with consumer complaints/issues and nothing else, all their time can be devoted to addressing consumers complaints.

Q) What Do I Put In My Complaint ?

A) Your complaint has to be clear ,definite and precise. All your facts and documentation must be in order. You will have to include -

(a) A cause-title.
(b) The complaint should, if possible have a heading
(c) The name, description and address of the complainant.(your name)
(d) The name, description and address of the opposite party or parties as the case may be, so far as they can be ascertained.
(e) The facts relating to the complaint and when and where it arose.
(f) How the opposite parties are liable to be proceeded against and why are they answerable or accountable to this petition.
(g) Copies of documents in support of the allegations contained in the petition. Complainants are advised to keep copies of the complaint / petition and all furnished documents for their records. A list of documents should also be furnished along with the complaint, duly signed by you.
(h) You would also need to state how the case falls within the jurisdiction of the tribunal-whether the opposite party resides or carries on business or has a branch office or personally works for gain within the jurisdiction of the forum or whether the cause of action (damaged goods or deficient service) arose within the Forum’s jurisdiction.
(i) You are also entitled to claim the costs of your complaint from the opposite party. Hence include that amount in your complaint.

Q) Is There A Fee For Filing A Complaint ?

A) Under the original un-amended Act of 1986, no requirement of payment of Court-fee or any other formal procedure of Court was contemplated. However, after the amendment of 2002, there is a nominal fee you may have to pay for filing a complaint. For example in the District Forum located in Delhi the fee structure is as follows –

  1. Up to 1 Lakh – Rs.100
  2. 1 Lakh & above but less that 5 Lakhs – Rs.200
  3. 5 Lakhs & above but less that 10 Lakhs – Rs.400
  4. 10 Lakhs & above but less that 20 Lakhs – Rs. 500

You will have to pay the specified fee in the form of a crossed demand draft drawn on a nationalized bank or through a crossed Indian Postal Order in Favour of the Registrar of the State Commission & payable where it is situated. The concerned District Forum shall deposit the amount so received.

Q) Is There Any Time Limit For Filing A Complaint ?

A) Yes, the time limit is within two years from the date on which the cause of action arises. This would mean two years from the day the deficiency in service or defect in goods has arisen/detected.

Q) Can This Time Limit Ever Be Extended ?

A) Yes ,But only under certain Circumstances. If the time limit expires but you are still able to satisfy the Forum or Commission about the reasonableness in the delay, your complaint can still be taken up. However, the delay for every single day has to be explained

Q) Do I Have To Be There Myself To File A Complaint ?

A) Not necessarily , you can present your petition in person or by an authorized representative. You may also send the complaint/petition by Registered Post. It is good to send some extra Copies and to keep an extra one for yourself as well. You will also need to give a copy to the opposite party.

Q) Can More Than One Consumer File A Single Common Complaint ?

A) Yes, consumers having the same problem can join together and file a single complaint. This can be done by enclosing a petition with the complaint for joining together and filing a complaint. This petition should just state that since the facts and circumstances relating to the complaint are the same and also since the same relief is to be claimed for all the petitioners they may be allowed to join together and file a single complaint.

Q) How Do I Inform The Opposite Party about the complaint ?

A) A notice is required to be sent to the opposite party. This can be done by registered post which is to be delivered to the address where the opposite party resides , works or carry’s on his business.

Q) Can I Approach The Consumer Courts If I bought the Goods or Services for Commercial Purposes?

A) No, the Consumer Courts are only meant for the ordinary consumers who have bought goods & services for their own use or needs. Those who buy the goods/services for commercial purposes or resale purposes are excluded from the act. This forum is not meant for businesses ,firms and Industries but for the common man/consumer looking for quick & effective justice.

For more information about consumer rights

Help line: 1800-11-4000,  011-27006500,    SMS : 8800939717
To file online complaint , Free No.18001804566

Read Consumer Protection



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