- By Azeez Nazar Sabri
In the era of consumerism, consumer is the king. Companies have throat cut competition to reach consumers to sell their products and services. The competition between the companies benefits consumers but sometimes, consumers purchase goods or hire service under the influence of advertisements which claim high, but find it substandard. If the consumer feels that he is purchased substandard goods or availed deficient service, the remedy is available to him under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. He can file complaint in the consumer forum/commission . These Forums/ commissions are the quasi court and empowered to execute their order like the ordinary Civil Court.
Consumer has been defined under section 2 (d) the Consumer Protection Acts, 1986 as “who obtains goods or hire/avail service for consideration either paid or partly paid or under any system of deferred payment but does not include the person who purchase the goods for resale or commercial purpose or avail service for commercial purpose.”
Section 2 (f) of Consumer Act defines defects as “defect means any fault, imperfection or shortcoming in the quality, quantity, potency, purity or standard which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or [under any contract, express or implied, or] as is claimed by the trader in any manner whatsoever in relation to any goods;
Section 2(1(g) of Consumer Act, 1986 defines deficiency of service as “deficiency means any fault, imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature and manner of performance which is required to be maintain 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”.
To sum up this we can say that for any defective goods or deficient service the remedy is available only in case where money is paid to the seller of goods or service provider. There is no remedy if such goods or services are obtained or availed free of cost or obtained for resale or commercial purpose. However, commercial purpose does not include the use of such goods for earning livelihood by means of self-employment. Now the services of various kinds are covered under Consumer Protection Act,1986, i.e. Banking, Telecom, Airlines, Hospitalities, Amusement, Electricity and Water e.tc.
The procedure of filing a consumer complaint in India is very simple. Section 12 of consumer protection Act,1986 provides the procedure to file a complaint. There is no particular format of complaint though some fee has to be attached with it in the form of postal order. The name of parties and their addresses, grievances and relief sought should be mentioned the complaint. The fee varies on the value of claim made in the complaint. The complaint should be addressed to the president of the forum/or Chairman of Commission. The jurisdiction of the forum/ Commission depends upon the pecuniary value of complaint and place of residence of the parties and cause of action. The hierarchy of the consumer courts is divided in three categories, i.e. District consumer forum, State Commission and National Commission. The complaint upto twenty lacs can be filed before District Consumer Forum and Complaint above twenty lacs upto 1 crore can be filed directly before State Commission and complaint for more than 1 crore can be filed before National Commission. Appeal against the order of District Consumer Form can be filed before State Commission and Appeal against the State Commission can be filed before the National Commission.
However, the limitation period for filing the complaint is 2 years. The complaint should be filled with 2 years from the date of cause of action. Appeal against the District Consumer forum can be filed in State Commission. Appeal to State commission can be filed is 50% of the amount ordered by District forum or RS. 25,000/, whichever is less is deposited.
The Consumer Protection, Bill 2018 has been approved by the Union Cabinet on 05th January, 2018, if the same is passed by the Parliament certain changes will be made in the Consumer Protection Act, including pecuniary and territorial jurisdiction Consumer of Forums and punishment for false and misleading advertisement.