Who is Consumer?
Consumer is a person who buys products or takes benefit of any service for a consideration which may be used personally. Consideration can be fully paid or promised to pay or partly paid or partly promised. This aspect also includes beneficiary of goods or services who uses the product/services subject to approval of such person. In India, consumer disputes are dealt under the Consumer Protection Act and the Forums are established at all level to adjudicate upon the disputes related to consumers. The Consumer Protection Act is a welfare legislation, meaning it is made to benefit the consumers and ensure that they are not provided with substandard goods or services in contrary to what they project at the time of advertisement of the same.
Consumers have becomes conscious of their rights, and therefore, are filing complaints even for the slightest of deficiency of services from the service provider. A Consumer can file a complaint when a seller or a trader tries to harass or exploit them by providing them a product in contrary to what they showcase it to be at the time of purchase. If the consumer shows or produces the proof of exploitation in front of Consumer Court, then a Court may grant an award in its favour.
The Consumer disputes upto INR 20,00,000/- (Indian Rupees Twenty Lakhs only) are filed in District Consumer Forums and disputes amounting upto INR One Crore are filed in State Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums, disputes above that are filed in the Hon’ble National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum. The Top Most Court for Consumer Disputes is the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum situated at New Delhi.
A consumer complaint can be filed by the Consumer itself or through an Advocate. Consumer Courts and Consumer Forum both are one and the same. One needs to draft the entire facts in detail and file it before the consumer forum. In due course of proceedings, other pleadings are filed and a Court then adjudicates upon the dispute.
Procedure to File a Consumer Complaint
One must start with sending out a legal notice with a relavant time to reply to the notice to the service provider. The Legal Notice is sent to give an opportunity to the service provider to amicably settle the dispute, while avoiding any litigation to save the time of individuals and the Courts.
In case the service provider does not respond to the legal notice sent in good faith, one must identify the jurisdiction, where the consumer complaint must be filed. A consumer complaint must be carefully drafted with all the relevant facts and documentary proof. The Complaint must contain each and every detail of the deficiency of goods and services and the line of events that led to the filing of the case. Further, the complaint must have a carefully drafter prayer clause, which is the relief that an individual is claiming from the service or goods provider for the deficiency caused.
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