If you log on to http://consumercom.nic.in you will access the website of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
I would highly recommend this site as compulsory reading to every consumer. You not only get to see orders of the National Commission, (the highest consumer court in the country) but also that of State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions and District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums in all districts in India.
The Consumer Protection Act is a simple, short law, meant for ‘better protection of consumers’. I would recommend that every consumer keep a copy of the Act and read it -- you can buy the bare Act for Rs 50 or download it from the National Commission’s website.
Where you file your complaint depends on two factors -- location of the business you are complaining against and amount involved in the case.
The Consumer Protection Act says that a complaint shall be instituted in a district forum within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the opposite party resides or carries on business etc. Similarly, where the total value of the goods or services complained against and the compensation is within Rs 20 lakh, the complaint must be filed before the District Forum.
If such value exceeds Rs 20 lakh, but is within Rs 1 crore, the State Commission will entertain the complaint. Complaints above this value will go to the National Commission. There is a time limit of two years for filing a complaint.
However appeals, if any, will have to be filed within a month of receiving the order. I must also add that consumer courts provide special privileges like early hearing to those above the age of 60 and those who may be physically challenged.
Question: K.V.S.Bishnoi : I am a permanent resident of Thane, Maharashtra and propose to file a complaint before the Thane District Forum. Is issuing a legal notice to the other party necessary before making an application before the consumer forum?
Answer: Most consumers assume that they have to file the complaint in a court nearest to them. As I have already explained, this is not correct. A legal notice is not mandatory, but I would suggest that you do it. One, it establishes the fact that you provided the opposite party with a fair opportunity to make amends, before going to the consumer court. Two, there is every possibility that on seeing your notice, the opposite party may well redress your complaint, which is good for both of you.
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