With more people opting for online shopping, consumer courts are flooded with complaints against various online portals of late.
If statistics are of any indication, of the 200 cases filed in the Chandigarh district consumer forum every month, four per cent complaints are against online portals. The figure was one per cent last year.
“There has been a marked increase in the complaints against online portals in the past one year due to changes in the interpretation of the Act.
Earlier, most of the complaints used to be dismissed owing to territorial jurisdiction but now after a recent judgment jurisdiction of consumer complaint lies at the place where the goods are delivered,” Pankaj Chandgothia, president, Consumer Courts Bar Association, Chandigarh.
The act always said the jurisdiction of complaint lies where cause of action is or where the office of the party is. But with new interpretation the cause of action is taken at the place from where goods are delivered or ordered from. This has come as a respite to customers,” he said.
Advocate Satish Kumar said, “There has been increase in the number of online portals. Most of the buyers are young professionals who find it convenient to buy online.
Awareness about consumer rights and quick disposal of complaints has also led to increase in the volume of such complaints.”
“These complaints are mainly about goods received in a damaged condition or not as per the order specifications. Though there is a policy of replacing goods within a specified time frame it is not honoured thus forcing the customers to move courts.
In most cases online portals are proceeded exparte as they do not appear despite service of notices,"said advocate Neeraj Sobti.