Filing a Consumer Case
Filing a Consumer Case
Consumers can approach the concerned consumer court or consumer redressal forum if there is a deficiency in goods or services that he/she may have purchased. The Consumer Protection Act defines deficiency as any fault, imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature and manner of performance which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or has been undertaken to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any service. In this article, we look at the procedure for filing a consumer case in India.
Who can file consumer case?
Any person who has purchased a good or service is termed as a consumer and is entitled to protection under the Consumer Protection Act. The term consumer also includes any person who uses the goods or services with the permission of the buyer. Further, the term “consumer” under the Consumer Protection Act has also been extended to medical services to include patients who engage and avail, for consideration, the services of a medical professional, whether working as a private practitioner or a Government doctor.
Trade Sale vs Consumer Sale
Consumer Protection Act does not apply to any person who obtains any goods or services for the purposes of resale or any other commercial purpose. Such transaction undertaken by two businesses for trade purposes would be a trade sale, not a consumer sale.
Importance of Purchase or Consideration
For protection under the Consumer Protection Act, it’s important that there be a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised or have a deferred payment plan. Deficiencies in services or goods provided for free is not dealt with under the Consumer Protection Act.
Procedure for Filing a Consumer Case
A consumer as defined above can approach a consumer court or consumer redressal forum if they have been subject to any deficiency in goods or services that were purchased. Consumer court or consumer redressal forum has a three-tier hierarchy and the jurisdiction will depend on the value of the goods or services and the compensation claimed by the consumer.
District Consumer Forum
District consumer forum deals with consumer complaints where the value of goods or services and the compensation claimed does not exceed Rs.20 lakhs. District consumer forums mainly entertain common-cause petitions for the award of compensation to persons who have suffered from any particular deficiency in goods or services.
State Consumer Forum
State consumer forum deals with consumer complaints where the value of goods or services and compensation claimed are between Rs.20 lakhs and Rs.1 crore. State consumer forum also deals with appeals against orders of the District Consumer Forum within the concerned State.
National Consumer Forum
National consumer forum has jurisdiction over consumer cases where the value of goods or services and compensation claimed are over Rs. 1 crore. National consumer forum also deals with appeals against orders of the State Consumer Forum.
Any appeal against orders of the National Consumer Forum can be made directly to the Supreme Court within 30 days of the date of the concerned order.