When and how do I go to Consumer Court?

2023-01-24 01:19:58 - Grace Browns Grace Browns has been a lifestyle, fashion, and beauty writer for over 5 years, and she currently serves as a senior editor at 422346.com.

In India, disputes can be taken to a court designated to hear cases involving consumers by the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. There are three distinct levels of these courts: i e Province, state, and country This is where a lawsuit must be filed under the law if the dispute is worth more than a certain threshold. e Each court has its own statutory valuation system.  

The purchasing power of consumers is what keeps a country's economy afloat. Products and services should be of adequate quality and free from obvious flaws. Unfortunately, there are numerous instances in which the Consumer suffers from poor service or inferior products. The Consumer Protection Act of 1986 was enacted to protect consumers and establish a process for resolving disputes.  

The best way to help consumers and solve their problems is through consumer courts, which have been shown to be very efficient. Contrary to other forms of litigation, filing a complaint is simple and inexpensive. In addition to monetary considerations, the location of the alleged wrongdoing also affects which district consumer forum has jurisdiction over a given case. Similarly to Delhi, the district consumer forum to which a case should be brought depends on the plaintiff's place of business, the nature of the dispute at issue, and the plaintiff's residence. Attorney Akshay Agarwal puts it this way.

A Look at the Table of Contents

  • When can a complaint be filed in a Consumer Court

  • When a customer has a right to file a complaint  

  • Justifications for Making a Complaint

  • Where can I find information about the various consumer dispute redressal agencies that exist to safeguard consumers?

  • How does one initiate a case in the Consumer Court?

  • A Strategy for Participating in the District Forum

  • Tips for Communicating with Your State's Consumer Forum

  • Advice on Communicating with the National Center for Chronic Disease Research

  • What types of relief are available under the Consumer Protection Act?

  • Can I file a case in Consumer Court if it's been more than a certain amount of time?

  • If the Consumer Court rules against me, do I have any recourse?  

Who has standing to sue in a Consumer Court?

To file a claim in the Consumer Court, one must:

  • A consumer Who exactly is a consumer, though? The following criteria define a consumer:

    • The individual has exchanged money or other goods or services for the one or more of these, i.e. e He or she has made a monetary commitment.

    • The goods must have been purchased for individual use, not for resale or other business purposes.

  • Any group of individuals who have voluntarily joined together to advocate for the interests of consumers and are recognized as such by the Companies Act of 1956 or any other applicable law

  • Federal or state authorities

  • In the marketplace, there may be one or more groups of consumers who share a particular interest.

  • When a customer dies, his heirs or legal representative  

When can a client file a grievance?  

If the Consumer, his heirs, or a voluntary consumer organization has reason to believe that the Consumer has not been treated fairly, they may file a formal complaint

  • any of the following arguments could be made in his favor:

  • no more than two years have passed since the cause of action;

  • complaint must have the right to file a complaint under applicable law i e should be mentally stable, financially independent, and academically significant

In order to file a "Complaint," a consumer must first determine the legal basis for doing so. In this context, "complaint" refers to any written allegation made by the complainant.  

Valid Complaint Instances Include

  • When a service provider engages in a trade practice that is either restrictive or unfair to consumers;

  • Products with defects, whether the complainant has already purchased them or has agreed to do so;

  • Shortcomings in the provision of Services, whether actually obtained or agreed to be obtained;

  • Extortionate pricing that is higher than the price stipulated by law, the price listed on the product's packaging, or the price agreed upon by the parties;

  • Transactions involving the sale or offer for sale of potentially dangerous products or services that could cause injury or death if used or obtained, where the seller or offerer could have known, with reasonable diligence, that the product or service was dangerous

Who are the various Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies that exist to safeguard consumers?

After the basis for the complaint has been determined, the next step is to calculate an appropriate monetary award. There is a three-level forum for resolving disputes under the Consumer Protection Act. These courts hear cases where the amount at stake is less than the statutory maximum.

  • Each district has its own Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (DCDRF), which consists of three individuals. The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission can hear an appeal from the DCDRF if the claim is worth up to 20 lakhs.

  • The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC) is an organization that has been set up in each state to help resolve consumer disputes. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission hears appeals from the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission when the claim amount is between 20 lakhs and 1 crore.

  • The Consumer Protection Act establishes a three-tiered Redressal System, the final of which is the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), headquartered in New Delhi. If the claim is worth more than 1 crore, the court has "pecuniary jurisdiction." It is also empowered to hear SCDRC appeals. Moreover, the Supreme Court is the proper venue for appealing an NCDRC ruling.

It's worth noting that in 2019, an Amendment was passed and published in the Gazette, expanding the monetary threshold at which courts can rule on cases. In spite of this, the Act has not yet entered into force. The amendment raises the monetary limits for which the District Forum can hear cases from 1 crore to 10 crore for the SCDRC and 100 crore for the NCDRC.  

"With the improvement of the economy and the proliferation of services available on both online and offline platforms, there was an urgent need to regulate consumer-service provider relationships and to address the complaints for the sake of keeping the relationship amicable." That's why it's so important that there be a place where people can air their complaints and have them addressed," says consumer rights lawyer Akshay Agarwal.

How does one initiate a case in the Consumer Court?


A letter that the wronged party must write to the vendor who supplied the product or service. The notice informs the defendant of the complainant's intent to sue and details the circumstances under which the defect in the goods, inadequate service, or unfair practice occurred. The letter is an effort to resolve the dispute outside of court. e if the service provider is offering a refund, credit, or other form of relief  

The Second Step Is to Draft the Consumer Complaint

The next step is to file a formal complaint under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, if the service provider is unwilling to offer compensation or other remedies. The use of legal counsel in submitting the Complaint is optional. The aggrieved party is the only one who can file the complaint. The complaint needs to include the following information:

  1. Identify the complainant(s) and the opposing party(s) by name and provide their respective addresses.

  2. Brief Description of the Event Giving Rise to the Litigation, the Probable Date, Time, and Place

  3. Information pertinent to the root of the problem

  4. What the complainant wants as a result of the case and why  

  5. Authorized representative or complainant signature and verification

Step Three: Join Important Files Together

When arguing a case in Consumer Court, it is crucial to have copies of any relevant documents and evidence in order to prove your case. Included in these files are:

    • Purchase documentation such as an invoice, shipping label, or online order confirmation

    • Certificates of warranty or guarantee

    • Sending a written notice and complaint to the vendor or producer.

STEP 4: The Right Discussion Group:

The value of the goods or services purchased or utilized, as well as the requested monetary damages, will determine the pecuniary jurisdiction, or the court in which the complaint should be filed.

FIFTH STEP: Fork Over the Necessary Court Fees

The forum determines whether or not a filing fee is required at the time of complaint. The amount of the court fee is proportional to both the cost of the goods and the amount of compensation being claimed.

Sixth Step: Affidavit Submission

Case filing in the Consumer Court also necessitates the filing of an affidavit by the person initiating the case. Statement that the information provided and the statements made are true to the best of the consumer's knowledge is required in the affidavit.

The Best Way to Approach the District Forum

A complaint can be filed in person or through an authorized agent, and it can be made by the complainant on any form of plain paper.  

  • The complainant must submit four originals plus copies for each party.  

  • Antyodaya Anna Yojana cardholders pay no court fee for cases with a valuation of up to 1 lakh, while those without such cards pay Rs. 100 In addition, the court fee is Rs 200 for cases with a value of up to 5 lakhs, Rs 400 for those with a value of up to 10 lakhs, and Rs 500 for those with a value of up to 20 lakhs.  

  • Please make your payment for the court fee via demand draft payable to the President of the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum in the (name of the district).

Where to start when contacting the State Consumer Forum  

  • Either a new complaint within the monetary threshold for jurisdiction set by law or an appeal of the District Forum's decision must be filed within 30 days of the decision.

  • A 2,000 rupee filing fee is required for cases with a value between twenty and fifty thousand rupees, while a 4,000 rupee filing fee is required for cases with a value of one crore or more.  

  • The Court Fees must be paid in the same manner as the filing fee, by demand draft made out to the Registrar, (name of) State Commission and payable in that State only.  

In order to appeal to SCDRC, you'll need the following materials:

  • Here Are the Official Records i e complaint copy, proofs, evidence (if any), material entered into record, and other documents The correct names and addresses of the parties must be reflected on the documents.

  • A copy of the District Forum's official ruling with all signatures and certifications

  • Additional copies must be served on each Respondent in addition to the four that are filed with the Court.

  • Attached to the affidavit should be a copy of any interim orders issued by the District Forum or any petitions filed in connection with the case.

  • Affidavit and application for condonation of delay (if applicable) with explanation of delay.

  • The Appellant / Opposing Parties must make a mandatory deposit of Rs 25,000 or half of the award / compensation amount, whichever is less.

Procedures for contacting the National Center for Chronic Disease Research

  • If the Consumer's complaint falls within the SCDRC's monetary jurisdiction, they can file a direct complaint with the agency or appeal the decision of the SCDRC within 30 days.  

  • NCDRC requires a demand draft for Rs 5,000, payable to "The Registrar, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission," before a complaint can be filed.  

  • Appealing to either the State or National Commission is also free of charge.  

You have 30 days from the date the NCDRC issued its order for you to appeal to the Supreme Court.  

With what exceptions does the Consumer Protection Act provide for remedies?

  • The consumer is entitled to a full refund of the purchase price, plus any claimed damages and legal fees.

  • Repairing Flaws i e After conducting appropriate tests, if the Consumer Forum determines that material defects exist, it may issue an order to remedy the situation.

  • The service provider will, if possible, replace the defective item.

  • If the complainant can prove that they experienced financial, emotional, or physical harm as a result of using the products or making use of the service, then they may be entitled to compensation.  

  • Removing potentially dangerous products from circulation and selling

  • Any practicable deficiencies in service will be removed per this order.  

  • In cases where an unfair or restrictive trade practice was the impetus for legal action, the court may issue an injunction requiring the practice to end. The Authority has the authority to prohibit all or some of the above practices if it determines that they are unfair or restrictive.

  • Compensation for reasonable expenses incurred or legal fees claimed by the complainant.  

When must a case be brought before the Consumer Court?

Complaints from customers must be submitted no later than two years after the date on which the alleged inadequate service or faulty product first occurred. However, if the District Forum is convinced that the Consumer has good reason for not filing the complaint within that time period, then the Consumer may file the complaint after the two-year statute of limitations has expired. If there is a good reason for the delay, it can be overlooked.

How do I go about appealing a Consumer Court ruling?  

In order to prevent any possible injustice, the law grants both the complainant and the accused the right to file an appeal with any of three different levels of review. Appeals must be submitted in the following pecking order:

  1. Local Meetup Group

  2. The State's Official Discussion Forum

  3. National Assembly

  4. The Highest Court in the Land

Therefore, in order to protect consumers from dishonest businesses and to guarantee their fundamental rights, the Consumer Protection Act was enacted. It establishes special courts and dispute resolution procedures for consumer cases and provides for their protection.  

Questions & Answers

How do I know if I need to go to the District/State/National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum?  

If the dispute is worth more than a certain amount, the complaint must be filed in a higher court. Consumers have the right to appeal a decision made by a consumer forum if that decision goes in favor of the seller or manufacturer. You can find a list of jurisdictional and appellate courts below.




0 - 20 Lakh

Forum for Redress of Consumer Disputes in Your District

Commission for the Redress of State Consumer Disputes

twenty thousand to one million

The State Board for the Settlement of Consumer Disputes

Commission for Redressing National Consumer Disputes

Over a Billion

Commission for Redress of Consumer Disputes at the National Level

Court of Last Resort

What exactly does the term "defect" mean when referring to a product or service?

A defect is a lack of quality or an obvious flaw in a product or service. There may be an issue with the product's longevity, quality, quantity, specifications, composition, purity, cleanliness, or adulteration. It is to be evaluated in accordance with the standards that must be kept in accordance with the law in force or as otherwise decided by the parties or as otherwise claimed by the seller or trader  

When filing a consumer lawsuit, is it required to send a legal notice?

Certainly, prior to initiating a Consumer Case, a formal notice must be served. If the other party is willing to offer compensation or some other remedy, the dispute may be resolved through legal notice rather than going to court. Additionally, it alerts them to the possibility of legal action.

Where can I lodge a complaint if I have a problem as a consumer

An online Consumer Complaint Form is available, yes. The Complainant must take the following actions in order to submit an online complaint:

First, sign up on the Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India's official website (https://consumerhelpline.gov.in/). To create an account, select the "new user" tab; if you are already a registered user, simply log in.

In the second step, you'll be asked for personal information like your name, phone number, and email address.

Third, after signing up, access your account by entering your username and password. Select "File a Complaint" to submit your grievance electronically.

Choose the company's or provider's category and the products or services they provide in the fourth step. The Service in this case would be Online Shopping and the Company would be the website you used to make your purchases.

Fifth, fill out the online registration form that appears afterward. Provide as much information as possible about the problem, the provider of the goods or services, and any supporting evidence. In a nutshell, this is where the action's cause comes from.


Sixth, follow the instructions to file your complaint by submitting the form.

When does the Consumer Protection Branch hear cases?

A Consumer Court is an administrative court that hears cases involving disputes between consumers and merchants or sellers. Deficiencies in service, defective products, potentially harmful products or services, unfair or restrictive business practices, etc. are all valid grounds for legal action. A Consumer Court has jurisdiction over any matter involving a consumer, including matters that could potentially have far-reaching effects on the general public.

Should I retain legal counsel before taking my case to consumer court?

To file a claim in Consumer Court, you may or may not retain legal representation. Self-referral complaint filing is an option. However, as the case progresses or during the appeals process, you may need assistance from outside sources. But ultimately, the decision is up to you.  

When dealing with the consumer protection court, how long does the process typically take

There is no statute of limitations dictating how long the Consumer Forum has to rule on a complaint. Because of the three-tiered Appeal system, the Forums are often swamped. It could take as little as a year or as long as five years on average. The Forums may take an additional one to three years to rule on an appeal of the order.

Can I lodge a complaint as an individual consumer?

You can submit a Consumer Complaint Form on your own. You need to include all the necessary information, such as the names and addresses of the parties, a synopsis of the case, the reason for the lawsuit, a rough time frame for when the event occurred and where it will be held, and a description of the damages you are seeking. evidence supporting the allegations made in the complaint, such as receipts or other documents attesting to the service's or product's purchase or to the existence of a defect or shortcoming.

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