Legal Advice

What Is the Process for Taking a Court Case by a Consumer?

When a consumer feels cheated by a trader, manufacturer, or service provider, he can file a case in consumer court and claim the losses. Depending on the claim amount, the consumer should select the consumer forum at the district, state, or national level. Read to know more.

The consumer is the king in the present-day market. Businesses can do well only if you, as a consumer, are happy. Every service provider or manufacturer has to focus on consumer satisfaction. What if you are not satisfied with the products or services offered? What should you do if the business is not taking the corrective steps to fill your loss? You can file a case in consumer court.

What is a Consumer Court?

Consumer courts help to solve consumer complaints, grievances, and conflicts. The consumer can file a case against a seller or service provider in a consumer court if he feels cheated. Consumer courts were established in 1986 to make the process of solving consumer problems fast.

What Kinds of Complaints Can You File with a Consumer Court?

  1. The seller sells defective goods.
  2. The seller or service provider charges more than what is agreed between the parties or is more than what the package or price list shows.
  3. Services not as promised while hiring.
  4. The service provider does not follow fair trade practices.
  5. A seller sells goods that are dangerous to life and safety on usage, and the seller is aware of it.

Depending upon the amount involved in your claim, there are three tiers of redressal forum.

1. District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum

You will find DCDRF in each district. You should file a complaint here if your claim is up to 1 crore. If you are dissatisfied with the order given by the DCDRF, you may appeal to the State Consumer Forum.

2. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

SCDRC is in every state. When the value of your claim is from 1 crore to 10 crores, you can file your complaint here. You may file an appeal to the NCDRC from the order of SCDRC

3. National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

NCDRC is in Delhi. If the value of your claim is more than 10crores, you may file your complaint here. If you are not satisfied with the order of NCDRC, you may appeal to the Supreme Court.

What is the Fee for Filing a Complaint in the Consumer Court?

There are different slabs of consumer court fees, depending on the value of the claim amount.

1. District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum

  • For cases involving claims up to5 lakh claim, you do not have to pay any fee.
  • If the claim is from 5Lakh to 10 lakh, it is 200
  • From 10 lakhs to 20 lakhs-400
  • From 20 lakhs to 50 lakhs- 1,000
  • Above 50 lakhs to 1 crore- 2,000

2. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

  • If your claim value is from 1 crore to 2 crores, you have to pay a fee of 2,500.
  • If the claim is from 2crores to 4 crores, the fee is 3000
  • From 4 crores to 6 crores-4,000
  • From 6 crores to 8 crores- 5,000
  • Above 8 crores to 10 crores- 6,000

3. National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

  • If your claim value is above 10 crores, you have to pay a fee of 7,500.

How to Pay the Consumer Court Fee?

You have to pay the consumer court fees at the time of filing the complaint. The payment should be through a duly crossed demand draft from a nationalised bank drawn in favour of the President, Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum(location).

What is an Unfair Contract?

When a contract between the service provider/trader/manufacturer and a consumer has terms that significantly change the rights of a consumer, it is an Unfair Contract. An Unfair Contract includes:

  • Insisting the consumer for exorbitant security deposits as an obligation for the contract
  • Refusing foreclosure of loans
  • Foreclosure of loans on payment of the penalty is not accepted
  • asking the consumer to pay penalties disproportionate to the loss in case of a breach of contract.   
  • Terminating a contract unreasonably
  • Permitting a party to use the contract terms to harm the consumer interest
  • Imposing unreasonable charges or obligations or conditions that are disadvantageous to the consumer.

What is the Procedure to Follow to File a Complaint in Consumer Court?

You can register a complaint in person. A legal advisor can represent you, or you may register an online complaint. Register the complaint within 2years of availing goods or services from the party. 

Here are the procedures you should follow to file a complaint.

1. Send notice to the opposite party.

You should send a notice by registered post to the party. It should contain the reasons for dissatisfaction. It allows settling the grievances outside the consumer forum within a stipulated period. If the opposite party fails in this regard, you will register a case in the consumer court.

2.  Draft the consumer complaint with the help of a legal advisor.

If the opposite party does not respond to the notice, you file a formal complaint in the consumer court. 

The complaint should have the following details.

  • The complainant and the opposite party’s name and address
  • Reasons and facts of complaint with date and time
  • Details of relief or compensation claimed by you
  • Signature and verification by you or your authorised legal advisor

3.  Attach the supporting documents and evidence.

Invoice copy, delivery receipt, a record of booking if the goods are purchased online

Copy of the notice sent to the party with postal acknowledgment

An affidavit stating that the facts presented and statements made are true to your knowledge.

4.  Choose the forum as per your claim amount.

5.  Deposit the court fee through a demand draft.

A statutory deposit of 25,000 or 50% of the compensation, whichever is less, should be paid by you and the parties while filing a case in the state forum. The consumer forum returns this deposit after the hearing closes. You do not have to pay such a deposit in the district or national consumer forum.

How to File a Complaint in Consumer Court Online

  • You have to register a complaint on the official website.
  • Provide personal details as requested.
  • After registration, create your username and password.
  • Go to the option ‘File A Complaint’ to file your complaint online.
  • Select the service provider or company type with their services or goods sold.
  • Enter the relevant details, evidence, and details of the issues with the goods or services provided.
  • Submit the form, and you have filed the complaint.

You do not have to worry if you are cheated or dissatisfied with the services or goods of a service provider or trader. You can always approach the consumer court if you are legally eligible and claim compensation. Though you can file a complaint on your own, it is advisable to take the help of legal advisors. They provide you with expert advice and save your time, money, and energy. And hence, Vakilsearch can help extensively in this regard.

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