Who is a Consumer?
As per the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 the following persons are consumer:
- A person who has purchased goods for a consideration, i.e., he has paid some money for it.
- A person who has not himself purchased the goods but who uses the goods with the approval of the buyer.
- A person who hires or avails of any services for a consideration and includes any beneficiary of such services.
However, a person who has obtained the goods for resale or commercial purpose or has availed the services for any commercial purposes will not be a consumer.
Who can file a Consumer Complaint?
As per the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the following can file a consumer complaint:-
- 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;
- in case of death of a consumer, his legal heir or representative
Can a person file a consumer complaint from its own?
Jurisdiction of filing complaint
As per the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, a complaint can be filed in the:-
District Forum – Where the value of goods or services and compensation, if any, claimed below Rs. Twenty Lacs or upto Rs. Twenty Lacs
State Commission – Where the value of goods or services and compensation, if any, claimed exceeds Rs. Twenty Lacs but does not exceed Rs. One crore
National Commission – Where the value of goods or services and compensation, if any, claimed exceeds Rs. One crore
Procedure of filing a consumer complaint
Firstly Consumer has to give notice to the opposite party of the fact of any
deficiency in service, etc. so as to give the opposite party a chance to make good the loss, replace the goods, etc.
Then the consumer has to prepare a complaint. The complaint must state facts necessary to establish a cause of action. The complaint must mention the name, description and address of the complainant and the name, description, address of the opposite party or parties against whom relief is claimed.
Along with the complaint, the complainant is required to file copies of supporting documents, i.e., cash memo, receipts, agreements, etc. The complainant is required to file 3 copies of the complaint, together with enclosures, for official purpose plus copies for the number of Opposite Parties.
Also the complainant has to get the complaint affidavit notarized through a notary.
After that the complainant has to submit the complaint and court fee to the receiving clerk in the consumer court who will give the date for admission hearing and complaint reference number.
On admission hearing, complainant would be informed whether or not his matter is admitted. If admitted then he will be given the date for next hearing.
Limitation period of filing a consumer complaint
An aggrieved person has to file a consumer complaint within two years from the date of cause of action.
However a complaint may be entertained after the period of two years if the complainant satisfies the District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, that he had sufficient cause for not filing the complaint within such period.
Appeals to State Commission, National Commission and Supreme Court
Any person aggrieved by an order made by the District Forum may prefer an appeal against such order to the State Commission within a period of thirty days from the date of the order.
Any person aggrieved by an order of the State Commission may prefer an appeal to the National Commission within a period of thirty days from the date of the order.
Fee Structure to file a consumer complaint
|Upto One Lakh Rupees – For Complainants Who Are Under The Below Poverty Line Holding Antyodaya Anna Yojna Cards||NIL|
|Upto One Lakh Rupees – For Complainants Other Than Antyodaya Anna Yojna Card Holders||Rs. 100|
|Above One Lakh And Upto Five Lakh Rupees||Rs. 200|
|Above Five Lakhs And Upto Ten Lakh Rupees||Rs. 400|
|Above Ten Lakhs And Upto Twenty Lakh Rupees||Rs. 500|
|Above Twenty Lakh And Upto Fifty Lakh Rupees||Rs. 2000|
|Above Fifty Lakh And Upto One Crore Rupees||Rs. 4000|
|Above One Crore Rupees||Rs. 5000|