Consumer Court Complaint Format

Consumer court complaint format

Consumer courts are specialised courts in place to protect consumers from frauds against them on purchasing any product or service. Operating under the Consumer Protection Act of 2019, these courts help resolve disputes and provide compensation to the consumer in events of grievances and disputes as raised by them. For this purpose, consumers are required to submit formal requests and complaints to enable the court to take the case further. However, there is a specific format in which such complaints are required to be written by the consumer. The person filing the complaint can be the direct consumer or the heir, a voluntary consumer association, the state or central government, or a legal representative of the consumer. Similarly, in the case of the direct consumer being a minor, their legal guardians have the right to file such complaints on their behalf. There is a proper Consumer Court Complaint Format to file a complaint.

What is a consumer court?

The consumer court is a special court made specifically to implement the rights of customers and deal with all consumer-related issues and events in a proper and organised way. Just like any other court, if the plaintiff (consumer) can present sufficient evidence proving that the defendant (vendor) cheated them, then the consumer court grants them the necessary redressal to be provided by the plaintiff. However, if sufficient evidence is not provided, then the consumer loses the case. In this way, the consumer court is just like any other court, the sole difference being that all the cases are regarding consumer-related disputes only.

How to file a consumer complaint?

Consumers can file complaints to the consumer court through written appeals submitted manually to the court or through electronic complaints addressed to the Commissioner of Regional Office, the Central Authority, or the District Collector. Similarly, if the complaint is regarding the violation of any consumer right, then the consumer can go to the State Commission, the District Forum, or the National Commission. However, if the consumer is not satisfied by the verdict passed by the judge in these courts, then they can appeal in higher courts as well. For this process, the following steps need to be followed:

  • Determine which court is suitable for your complaint. There are 3 levels of the court you can file your complaint in depending on the value of your transaction:
    • District Forum: Complaints regarding transactions of goods and services less than Rs. 1 Crore.
    • State Commission: Complaints regarding transactions of goods and services between Rs. 1 Crore and Rs. 10 Crore.
    • National Commission: Complaints regarding transactions of goods and services more than Rs. 10 Crore.
  • Once you have determined the court suitable for your complaint, you need to serve a notice to the defendant.
  • Once you have sent this notice, then you can proceed with filing the actual complaint in the relevant court as identified in Step 1.

The process of filing this complaint is the same in all courts, regardless of the level you are filing it at. So, once you know how to file the complaint, you can use the same method when submitting any complaint to any forum or commission.

The required fee for a consumer complaint

The consumer filing the complaint needs to submit a minimal fee when applying for the process. This fee varies, depending on the value of the product or service that the consumer had been involved in purchasing. For the district forum complaints, the fee incurred for filing is as follows as per Amendment 22 of the Consumer Protection Rules 2018:

  • Complaints regarding transactions of goods and services less than Rs. 5 Lakhs – No Fee.
  • Complaints regarding transactions of goods and services from Rs. 5 Lakhs to Rs. 10 Lakhs – Rs. 200.
  • Complaints regarding transactions of goods and services more than Rs. 10 Lakhs – Rs. 400.

For any complaint filed to the State or National Commission, no fee is required to be paid, regardless of the value of the transaction.

The process to file a consumer complaint in District Forum

When filing a complaint to the District Forum, the complaint is required to be submitted as a manual complaint written on white paper. This should be drafted by either the consumer or through the means of a notarised agent specialising in this area. However, when filing the complaint, the following factors should be kept in mind:

  • The consumer should get the complaint notarized, either through “Registered Post”, or through the means of “Regular Post”.
  • The date of the complaint should be within two years of the incident, that is the date on which the transaction associated with the dispute had arisen.
  • At least four copies of the complaint are required to be submitted by the consumer when filing the complaint, along with an extra copy for each defendant in the case.
  • The complaint document should include details of the plaintiff and the defendant in addition to a detailed explanation of the incident and what the plaintiff wishes to be awarded as remuneration.
  • All evidence associated with the complaint needs to be submitted along with the complaint, proving the innocence of the plaintiff or the charges against the defendant(s).
  • A demand draft of the fee (as mentioned above) in the name of “The President, Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, {name of} District” is also required to be attached with the complaint.

It is to be kept in mind that when filing this complaint, the consumer does not need to hire an advocate. This means that while appointing an advocate can benefit them in collecting, organising and drafting the complaint more meticulously, it is not necessary.

Details to be included in the complaint

When filing the complaint, the following information is crucial to be included:

  • Particulars of Complainant (name and address).
  • Particulars of Defendant (name and address).
  • Particulars of the incident:
    • Date of purchasing the associated goods or services.
    • Nature of the goods or services purchased.
    • Amount of the transaction.
  • Issue observed in the incident and nature of the complaint (complaint due to defective product, fraudulent activities, inadequate services provided, etc.).
  • Evidence (bills/receipts) of the transaction.
  • Intended relief sought as per the Act.
  • Attestation (signature or thumbprint) of the complainant or representative.

Read More About: “Experience Certificate Format

The process to file a consumer complaint in State Commission

As mentioned earlier, consumers can file a complaint to the state commission when the value of the complaint falls between Rs. 1 Crore and Rs. 10 Crore. However, consumers who were dissatisfied with the judgement of the district forum can also contest the same in the State Commission. This process of contesting the previous judgement is required to be done within 45 days of the judge giving out the result in the district forum. And while filing such redressal appeals, a demand draft payable to the Registrar, {name of state} State Commission” is also required to be attached. Apart from this, the following process must be followed:

  • Documents correctly stating particulars (names and addresses) of all involved parties.
  • Certified copy of the judgement delivered by the District Forum that is being contested.
  • At least four copies of the complaint with an extra copy for each additional respondent.
  • A related and certified order of “conditional delay”, “interim order” or any “other petition” along with an affidavit.
  • The respondents are required to pay a deposit of either Rs. 25,000 or 50% of the amount claimed by the appellant, whichever is lesser.
The process to file a consumer complaint in the National Commission

As mentioned above, complaints can be filed directly to the National commission if the value of the transaction exceeds Rs. 10 Crore. However, the same can also be done if the consumer wants to contest the decision of the State Commission. In such cases, the appeal is required to be filed within 30 days of the judgement and a demand draft of Rs. 5,000 payable to “The Registrar, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission”. If the consumer is still unsatisfied with the decision of the National Commission, then a further appeal can be filed to the Supreme Court within a month of the date of the judgement passed in the National Commission.

Online consumer complaint: If consumers do not wish to manually submit the complaint to any of the forums or commissions at any of the three levels, then they can also resort to filing an online complaint. For this process, the following steps need to be followed:

  • Step 1: Go to https://consumerhelpline.gov.in/.
  • Step 2: Register themselves by giving the necessary details, like their name, email ID, mobile number and set a password.
  • Step 3: Log in using the same details and then click on ‘Register Your Complaint.’
  • Step 4: Fill in the details that appear on the screen and attach all the necessary documents.
  • Step 5: After filling in all details, the complainants would be required to call “14404” or the toll-free number “1800-11-4000” (National Consumer Helpline Numbers) or send a message to “8130009809” to register the complaint.
    • Note: Consumers can also register for their complaints on the Consumer App, the UMANG App or the NCH App instead.
  • Step 6: Complainants will be given a Unique ID after registering their complaints, which can be used to track their complaints.
  • Step 7: When submitting the complaints online, payment can also be made online using the payment gateways available on the website or app.

Conclusion

Consumers have sufficient resources available at their disposal nowadays to protect them from getting defrauded and duped. One of the facilities available for this purpose, consumers that wish to gain redressal can file a complaint to the relevant authorities through online or offline methods, both of which have been explained here in detail.

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