These are the days when one needs to use so many products. What will you do if one product fails to work within a short time of buying? Whom should we approach if the services of a product are poor? The solution for all such problems lies at consumers' forums.
One suffers a lot if a refrigerator fails to work within two days of purchasing it. In such cases, he can call the company service center for giving a complaint during the period of warranty. Then the service engineers come to your house to repair it. If it is beyond repair, the product will be replaced. All this is a smooth process. If the company did not respond in a proper way, one has to move the consumer forum. However, one has to serve a notice to the company before moving to the consumer forum.
Notice to company
You have to serve a notice on the opposite party (company). In the notice, you have to clearly mention the defects in the product, solution expected and the time period to solve it. Further, you have to inform the company that you will move the consumer forum if their response is not satisfactory. The language you use should be decent. You can move the consumer forum if you did not get proper response from the company within 30 days. You should send the notice in a registered post with acknowledgement due.
You may get a phone call from the company representatives after they received the notice. Otherwise, they may send an e-mail. The company may come forward with some options like compensating the loss, free replacement of the product or others. However, on your part, you are advised to ask them only the true value of the loss you have faced. The consumer forums too direct the companies only to compensate the exact loss. You can start a legal battle if the offer given by the company is not satisfactory to you.
Applying is so easy
You can send your application on a white paper. It would be a better thing if you can type the matter and send it. You have to mention all the details relating to your problem. Do not forget to give complete details of your purchase of the product in the application. If you are applying two years after the problem started, you should explain the reason for the delay in giving a complaint.You have to submit an affidavit, stating that all the information given in the application is correct. You have to get this affidavit from a notary.
You have to be ready with all the related documents supporting your case like receipt of your purchase at a shop, warranty or guaranty card, proof of paying the money, proof of service failure of the company and the company address. The xerox copies of all these documents have to be attached with the application.
In the complaint, you have to give your complete address, details of the complaint, name of the opposite party and their address. You can ask to get back all types of expenditure you have incurred since the time of sending the application. Five copies of the complaint have to be readied by the applicant. Three copies have to be submitted to the court, one copy to the opposite party, while one copy has to be preserved by the applicant himself. It is advised that the applicant has to possess additional copies of the complaint for future purposes.
While filing the complaint, one can get the support of the help desk at the forum office. The complaint can be submitted by hand, by registered post or through his advocate. If one is so busy and has to send another person on his behalf, an authorization letter has to be submitted by the applicant.
One can go to court and submit the complaint to the clerk there and the latter will inform the date of first trial too. Then the applicant has to pay the required fee there. After that the forum sends notices to the company. Generally, one has to go to the court four or five times as part of the trial. It is sufficient for the applicant to explain the facts during the trial. The court may stop the trial if the applicant fails to attend for two consecutive trials.
The issues of services and products that fall under Rs.20 lakhs in value come under the district consumers forum. Respective state consumers forums look into those cases whose value falls between Rs.20 lakhs and Rs.1 crore and the national consumers forum addresses the cases above the value.
Value and the application fee will be like this.
Below Rs.1 lakh Rs.100
Between Rs.1 lakh and Rs.5 lakhs Rs.200
Between Rs.5 lakhs and Rs.10 lakhs Rs.400
Between Rs.10 lakhs and Rs.20 lakhs Rs.500
Between Rs.20 lakhs and Rs.50 lakhs Rs.2000
Between Rs.50 lakhs and Rs.1 crore Rs.4000
Above Rs. 1 crore Rs.5000
The application fee has to be paid in the form of DD and one can get its particulars by contacting the forum office.
State Commission, National Commission
If anyone is not satisfied with the judgement of the district forums, they can move the state commission. If the judgement there too is not satisfactory, such persons can move to the National Commission.
Advocates collect huge amounts to argue in the cases in these forums on behalf of companies. The companies are generally not interested in spending more amounts for arguing in the consumers forum than the actual price of product or service. So, they may come down and try to reach some form of settlement with the customers. On the other hand, the customers too have to wait for a long time to get justice. In these circumstances, why can't they try for a settlement with the company without wasting money and time?
One can get the support of the National Consumer Helpline Number of Ministry of Consumer Affairs of the Government of India by calling at 1800-11-4000, a toll free number. The personnel there can give you some form of solution to your problem.