How to file a Consumer Complaint
Following are the steps to be followed and points to be kept in mind while filing a consumer complaint at the District Forum or State or National commission.
Depending on the relief claimed, a consumer complaint will be filed at the District, State or National Commission.
- District Forum: When relief claimed is less that Rs. 20, 00, 000/-;
- State Commission: When relief claimed is more than Rs. 20, 00, 000/- but less than Rs. 1, 00, 00, 000/-;
- National Commission: When the relief claimed exceeds Rs. 1, 00, 00, 000/-.
The prescribed fee payable for filing a complaint before the District Forum, State or National Commission is as follows:
Upto 1 Lakh
1 Lakh to 5 Lakh
5 Lakh to 10 Lakh
10 Lakh to 20 Lakh
20 Lakh to 50 Lakh
50 lakh to 1 crore
Above One Crore Rupees
The prescribed has to be paid via Demand Draft. Rule 9A of the Consumer Protection Actsays every complaint shall be accompanied by a crossed DD from a Nationalised Bank or crossed Indian postal order in favour of the President- District Forum, Registrar- State Commission, or Registrar NCDRC, payable at the respective place where the District Forum, State Commission or National Commission is situated.
A consumer complaint can be filed by the consumer her/himself in person or by her/his authrorised representative. In consumer cases, there is no requirement for a lawyer or a consumer group to file the complaint.
The following points should be kept in mind while filing a consumer complaint.
- The complaint can be sent by Registered Post to the District Forum or State Commission.
- Minimum of five copies of the complaint have to be filed.
- Three copies have to be in green legal paper (some forums accept white also) plus one for the Office of the Forum and one for the Opposite Party.
- Complainant should keep one copy for her/himself and get a receiving on the same.
- An additional copy for each opposite party has to be filed.
Since the Forum / Commission have the power to pass ex parte orders or dismiss your complaint, please ensure that you carry out regular follow-up after filing the complaint. Every hearing date has to be attended to prevent any damage to the complaint.
- The complaint should be signed by the complainant.
- In case the complainant is authorising someone else to sign, the same should be accompanied by an authorisation letter.
- In the event of the death of the complainant, the legal representatives can continue on her/his behalf.
Format and Content:
A consumer complaint should contain the following information:
- Cause Title: Where the complaint is being filed and by who against who
- Heading: Under what section of the Consumer Protection Act is it being filed.
- Memo of parties: Included the name, description and address of the complainant and the opposite party/parties.
- Facts relating to the complaint and how it arose.
- Sections under which the opposite parties are to be held liable.
- How the parties are liable to be proceeded against and why are they answerable to the complainant.
- Annexures: Copies of all relevant documents in support of allegations made in the complaint should be furnished.
- A signed list of such documents should also be furnished along with the complaint.
- In cases of damage due to negligence, negligence or deficiency must be alleged, defined and established in order to get compensation under the Act.
- There is no ceiling on the compensation claimed, and hence the same may also be sought on account of consequential damage.
- The value of relief claimed will include refunds, damages, litigation costs and interest.
- For compensation, the total amount should be broken up and it should be explained how it was arrived at.
- If the relief cannot be quantified, a notional value should be given to it.
- The relief should be clearly stated, i.e. whether the complainant wants the removal of defects, replacement of goods, refund of excess price, refund of charges paid for deficient services, etc.
- State the jurisdiction and how the case falls within that jurisdiction. Eg. whether the opposite party resides or carries on business or has a branch office or personally works within the jurisdiction of the Forum or whether the cause of action started within the Forum’s jurisdiction.
- The cause of action can be defined as the factor from which this dispute arose. l.The relief which the complainant is seeking: here state whether you want removal of defects, replacement of goods, refund of excess price, refund of charges paid for deficient services, cessation of unfair trade practice, correction of misleading advertisements etc. apart from damages and costs of filing the complaint.
- The period of limitation for a consumer complaint is two years from the day when the cause of action arose.
- Condonation of delay is allowed in cases where there is a just cause for the delay.
- Collective case can be filed by consumers facing the same problem.
These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.
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