How to File Consumer Court Complaints

How to file Consumer Court Complaints

When a consumer is dissatisfied about a product or service he or she has a right to file a complaint in the respective consumer court regarding the same. The first step before even filing a complaint is to send a notice to the opposite party stating the facts of dissatisfaction regarding the availed service or product or of unfair trade practices and so on.

A legal notice is to give the opposite party a chance to compensate for the loss suffered by either replacing the commodity or returning the value of the purchase. In case the opposite party refuses to serve the notice then the consumers needs to approach the respective Consumer Court.

 

Below mentioned is the process to file a complaint in the consumer court:

Step 1: The consumer needs to identify the Jurisdiction of the Forum where the complaint is to be filed.

The Consumer needs to take into consideration both the territorial and pecuniary jurisdiction of the tribunal.

 

TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION OF THE CONSUMER FORUMS:-

A complaint shall be instituted in a District Forum or State Commission or National within the local limits of whose jurisdiction,—

a) The opposite party resides or caries on business or has a branch office or personally works for gain, or

b) If there are more than one opposite party, then any one of the opposite parties resides, or carries on business or has a branch office, or personally works for gain,

c) The cause of action arose.

 

PECUNIARY JURISDICTION OF CONSUMER FORUMS:-

Sr. No.              Forums                             Amount

1                      District Forum                    Upto Rs. 20 Lakhs

2                      State Commission              Rs. 20 Lakhs to Rs. 1 Crore

3                      National Commission         Exceeding Rs. 1 Crore

 

Step 2: A nominal fee along with your complaint has to be paid before the District Forum, State Commission & the National Commission as the case may be.

Step 3: Draft a complaint stating all facts and sign the complaint. In case any other person is authorized to file the complaint then complaint has to be accompanied with authorization letter. You will also have to 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.

Step 4: Attach all documents to support your complaint including the copy of the bill of the goods bought, warranty and guarantee documents and also a copy of the written complaint and notice made to the trader requesting him to rectify the product.

Step 5: Mention your compensation costs. Besides the compensation cost, a consumer can also ask for the refunds, damages, litigation costs, and interest amount. You must give the breakup for the amount to be claimed under different heads.

Step 6: Complaint must clearly state as to what relief is one looking for against the opposite party.

Step 7: The Act provides a limitation period of two years from the date of cause of action. In case there is delay in filing the complaint, please explain the delay which can be can be condoned by the Tribunal.

Step 8: Also, file an affidavit along with the complaint stating that the facts stated in the complaint are true and correct.

Step 9: The complainant can present the complaint in person or by his/her authorized representative without engaging any advocate. The complaint can be sent by registered post. A minimum of 5 copies of the complaint is to be filed in the forum. Besides this you have to file additional copies for each opposite party.

Can you sue brands for false advertising?

The influence of advertisements on consumer choice is unassailable. In our everyday lives, we are constantly bombarded with misleading advertisements. Take for instance the fairness creams that not only outrage the dark-skinned people but hook them to a pyramid of false hopes that using such creams will make them fair instantly. Be it guaranteed “fairness in just four weeks” or “Be fair, be handsome”, no matter what product or brand, there are numerous misleading advertisements out there. But will the use of such creams really make you fair?

The misleading advertisement of health and nutrition related products or drugs can have serious repercussions for the consumers. These advertisements not only violate the consumer’s right to information but can also affect their lives to a degree. False promises, exaggerated results, not revealing important information are few examples of content that makes advertisement misleading.

Primitively, since there was no comprehensive legislation to regulate misleading advertisements, they were regulated by the courts, government, tribunals, and the matters were decided on the case to case basis. However, now the consumer can approach various forums for complaining and claiming relief for false and misleading advertisements under Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act, Cable Television Network (Regulation)Act 1955, Food Safety and Standards Authority, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and Reserve Bank of India depending on the nature of goods for which unfair practices are being taken up.

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has been established to crack its whip and bring companies to book that flout the rules. The duty of ASCI was to dispose of complaints based on its code of advertising practice

How to make a complaint before ASCI-

A complaint can be made in any of the following ways-

  1. Through a Letter addressed to The Secretary-General, the Advertising Standards Council of India, 219 Bombay Market, Tardeo, Mumbai 400 034;
  2. By sending an email at (asci@vsnl. com; alan@ascionline.org);
  3. You can also register a complaint online at www.ascionline.org.
  4. You can call ASCI on 022 23513982 or 022 23521066 or 1-800-22 –2724 (toll-free) to register a complaint.

 

Who can make a Complaint?

 

  1. General public including government officials, consumer groups,   etc.,
  2. Suo Moto complaints from the member of the ASCI Board, CCC, or the Secretariat and,
  3. Intra-industry i.e. complaints from one advertiser against another.

 

Complaint under Consumer Protection Act, 1986

Any consumer who has been a victim of a misleading advertisement can seek redressal against such unfair trade practices under the consumer protection act, 1986. He will be entitled to following reliefs-

  • Refund of money equivalent to the price
  • Compensation for any loss or injury suffered.
  • The opposite party may be ordered to issue corrective advertisement to neutralise the effect of the misleading advertisement;
  • The court can also award punitive damages and costs of litigation to the consumer.