Filing a Consumer Complaint in India

Last Updated at: Oct 20, 2020
On June 2020, the Competition Commission rejected a lawsuit against the Indian National Highways Authority (NHAI) alleging deceptive business practices, recognizing the procurer or buyer’s prerogative to agree on contract terms according to its specifications.


You must be diligent and careful when you are buying goods and services. But, if you receive defective goods or poor quality service despite due diligence, then you can move to the district consumer forum to make sure that you are compensated for all losses that you had to suffer because of the aforesaid goods as well as services.

For every company on paper, the customer is the king. Then why do so many customers get poor service (or goods)? Because sometimes (or most of the times, depending on the company), profit takes priority (among others factors) over serving the customers.

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That’s why we have the Consumer Protection Act. Consumer Protection Act, 1986 seeks to promote and protect the interest of consumers against deficiencies and defects in goods or services. It also aims to secure the rights of a consumer against unfair or restrictive trade practices.

Right to seek redressal is the right that concerns with unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers. Also ensuring the right to a fair settlement of the legitimate grievances of the consumer.

This right affords compensation to the consumers against unethical trade practice of the seller. For instance, if the quantity and quality of the product do not adhere to those guaranteed by the seller, the buyer has the right to claim compensation.

In the article, we explain the process of filing a consumer complaint.

Where to file a Consumer Complaint (Jurisdiction)?

The consumer has to file the complaint in District Consumer Forum if the relief claimed is less than Rs.20 lakh.

The consumer has to file the complaint before the State Commission if the relief claimed is between Rs.20 lakhs and Rs. 1 crore.

The consumer has to file the complaint before the National Commission at New Delhi if the relief claimed exceeds Rs. 1 crore.

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How to file a Complaint?

  1. The complaint can be registered on a plain paper, so a stamp paper is not needed for declaration.  
  2. The complaint should contain the details of the complainant and the opposite party.

The complaint should contain the following particulars:

  • Name and complete address of the complainant.
  • Name and complete address of the opposite party/parties.
  • Date of purchase of goods or services availed.
  • Amount paid for the above purpose.
  • Particulars of goods purchased with numbers or details of services availed.
  • Details of the complaint, whether it is against Unfair Trade Practice/supply of defective goods/deficiency in service provided / collection of excess price, should explicitly be mentioned in the complaint petition.
  • Bills/receipts and copies of connected correspondence, if any.
  • The relief sought for under this Act.
  • The complainant or his authorised agent should sign the complaint.
  1. A complaint can be registered, in person, by the complainant or through his authorised agent or by post addressed to the Redressal Agency.
  2. It is not mandatory to involve a lawyer to file a case.
  3. There will be nominal fees charged according to the value of the claim.

Every complaint shall include details of the dispute, and the relief claimed and shall also be accompanied by copies of such documents as are required to prove the claim made in the complaint. A consumer can argue his case or can be represented by an authorised person or agency.

What is the time limit for filing a complaint?

A complaint has to be filed within two years from the date on which the cause of action/deficiency in service/defect in goods arises. However, a complaint may also be filed after two years, if the complainant satisfies the District Forum that he/she has sufficient reasons for not filing the complaint within such period.

When you have made up your mind about filing a complaint before the consumer forum, then you must find out about the relevant rules and regulations to make sure that your complaint is accepted. The Consumer Protection Act contains all the essential rules regarding the process that must be followed. If you are not familiar with this statute, then you can hire a consumer rights lawyer to get the job done.