Consumer complaints are increasing day by day either due to the deficiency in providing services or selling defective goods. Many of the traders have only one intension to just earn money by selling goods of any brand and they won't listen to the customer after selling the product. Especially in computer products the sellers are adopting different methods to earn profit. If the customer is not aware about the full configuration of the project, they may get inferior quality goods of lower grade items.
After sales the trader will turn
down the request of customer by showing one or another reason. Such practice is
there in sale and service of many other products. The customers try once or
twice to get solution and they may ignore it due to the complications in
litigation and proceedings. It is the right of the consumer to get right product
for the money they spent. Consumer Protection Act was passed with an intention
to protect the interest of consumers. Any consumer can approach the forum to
seek justice. Procedures in the Consumer forum is time bound and in normal case
the complainant will get relief in short period.
Legal provisions in the Consumer Protection Act regarding manner of making complaint, the person who can file complaint, Fee for filing complaint, procedure on admission of complaint, findings of the forum and Order by forum as under:
Manner of making complaint - Section 12 of Consumer Protection Act
Section 12 has been substituted by the consumer protection (Amendment) Act, 2002. There are some important changes in the substituted provision. The provisions are:
Who can file a Complaint - Section 12(1) of Consumer Protection Act
A Complaint in relation to any goods sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or any service provided or agreed to be provided may be filed with a District Forum by any of the following:
(a) Consumer to whom such goods are sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or such services provided or agreed to be provided;
(b) Any recognized consumer association. Such an association can make a complaint even though the consumer concerned is not its member;
(c) The complaint may also be filed by one or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest, on behalf of, or for the benefit of all the consumers so interested, with the permission of the District forum;
(d) The complaint may also be filed by the central or the State Government
For the purpose of the aforesaid provision, "recognized consumer association" means any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act, 1956 or any other law for the time being in force.
Complaints to be accompanies by court fee- Section 12(2) of the Consumer Protection Act
Every complaint to be filed under Consumer Protection Act shall be accompanies with such amount of fee and payable in such manner as may be prescribed as per the amendment Act of 2002.
Admissibility of Complaint - Section 12(3) of the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act 2002
Provision with regard to the admissibility of complaint is:
(i) On receipt of the complaint, the District forum may allow the complaint to be proceeded with or rejected. Before rejecting the complaint, the complainant has to be provided with an opportunity to explain his case.
(ii) The admissibility of the complaint shall ordinarily be decided within 21 dayss from the date on which the complaint was received.
(iii) After the complaint is admitted, it shall be proceeded with in accordance with the provisions of this Act. The complaint shall be heard by the District Forum which has admitted the same and shall not be transferred to any other forum or court etc
Procedure on admission of Complaint - Section 13 of Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act 2002
The procedure for admission of complaint under the Act is:
(1) The District Forum shall refer a copy of the admitted complaint within 21 dayss from the date of admission to the opposite party, directing him to give his version of the case within 30 days or such extended period not exceeding 15 days as may be granted by the District Forum.
(2) After giving due opportunity to the opposite party to represent his case, the District Forum shall proceed to settle the case.
(3) If the opposite party omits or fails to represent his case within the given time the District Forum can pass ex parte order.
(4) Every complaint shall be heard as expeditiously as possible. An Endeavour shall be made to decided the complaint within 3 months from the date of receipt of notice by the opposite party where the goods do not require any testing, and within 5 months, where any testing or analysis of the goods is needed.
(5) No adjournments shall be ordinarily allowed unless sufficient cause is shown and reason for adjournment has been recorded in writing by the forum.
(6) The new sub-section (3-B) to Section 13 enable the District Forum to pass interim order, as may be deemed just and proper in the facts and circumstances of the case.
(7) Substitution of the representation on the death of a party- The sub-section (7) to Section 13 states that in the event of death of a complainant who is a consumer or of the opposite party provides for substitution of the parties by their legal representatives according to the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code.
Findings of the District Forum -Section 14 of the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act 2002
If after conducting the proceedings under Section 13, the District Forum is satisfied that the goods complained against suffer from any of the defects specified in the complaint, or that any of the allegations contained in the complaint about the services are provided, it shall order the opposite party to do one or more of the following things, stated in Section 14(1) Namely:
(a) to remove the defect pointed out by the appropriate laboratory from the goods in question;
(b) to replace the goods with new goods or similar description which shall be free from any defect;
(c) to return to the complainant the price, or as the case may be the charges paid by the complainant;
(d) to pay such amount as may be awarded by it as compensation to the consumer for any loss or injury suffered by the consumer due to the negligence of the opposite party;
Provided that the District Forum shall have the power to grant punitive damages in such circumstances as it deems fit;
(e) to remove the defects in the goods or deficiencies in the services in question;
(f) to discontinue the unfair trade practice or the restrictive trade practice or not to repeat them;
(g) not to offer the hazardous goods for sale;
(h) to withdraw the hazardous goods from being offered for sale;
(i) to cease manufacture of hazardous goods and to desist from offering services which are hazardous in nature;
(j) when the injury has been suffered by a large number of consumers, who are not identifiable conveniently, the opposite party may be required to pay such sum as may be determined by the Forum;
(k) to issue corrective advertisement to neutralize the effect of any misleading advertisement;
(l) to provide for adequate costs to parties
Ex Parte Order
If the opposite party fails to appear and contest, the District Forum may proceed and pass an ex parte Order. If sufficient cause is shown for not appearing in the case, an ex parte order may be set aside.
Absconding to avoid summons, Preventing Service of Summons, Non Attendance, Non Production of documents, false information, Refusing oath, answer, sign statement, False statement on oath False information - Section 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182 of IPC