What is a Consumer Complaint and steps for filing a Consumer Complaint?

A consumer complaint is a formal expression of dissatisfaction made by an individual or a group of consumers regarding a product or service they have purchased or used. These complaints typically arise when consumers feel that the product or service did not meet their expectations, was defective, misrepresented, or resulted in some form of harm or inconvenience. Consumer complaints can cover a wide range of issues including quality, safety, pricing, customer service, billing errors, and more. Many businesses have processes in place to address and resolve consumer complaints in order to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty.

If customers pay for a certain good or service and receive inferior goods or services, they are entitled to legal action. Consumers are granted a number of legal rights and protections under the 1986 Consumer Protection Act. This Act allows a customer to file a formal complaint and bring a business or service provider to court. This particular complaint is referred to as an online consumer complaint. A complaint is usually filed if the company disregards a court order to fix the issue. When filing a complaint, all required details and supporting documentation must be sent in. India’s consumer courts provide customers with timely legal advice and rulings.

What are the steps for filing a Consumer Complaint?

The steps for filing a consumer complaint can vary depending on the nature of the complaint, the industry involved, and the jurisdiction where the complaint is being filed. However, here are some general steps that may be applicable:

  1. Gather Information: Collect all relevant information related to your complaint, including receipts, contracts, warranties, correspondence with the company, and any other documentation that supports your case.
  2. Contact the Company: Before filing a formal complaint, try to resolve the issue directly with the company. Contact their customer service department either by phone, email, or through their website. Explain your complaint clearly and provide any supporting documentation.
  3. Keep Records: Keep a record of all communications with the company, including dates, times, names of representatives you spoke with, and summaries of the conversations.
  4. Research Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your rights as a consumer under relevant consumer protection laws and regulations. This can vary depending on your location and the nature of the complaint.
  5. File a Formal Complaint: If you’re unable to resolve the issue directly with the company, consider filing a formal complaint with the appropriate authority. This could be a government agency, consumer protection organization, industry regulator, or a third-party dispute resolution service.
  6. Provide Details: When filing a formal complaint, provide detailed information about the nature of your complaint, including dates, facts, and any supporting evidence. Be clear and concise in explaining your concerns.
  7. Follow Up: After filing your complaint, follow up regularly with the relevant authority or organization to check on the status of your complaint and provide any additional information that may be requested.
  8. Seek Legal Advice: If your complaint involves significant financial loss or legal issues, consider seeking advice from a consumer rights lawyer who can provide guidance on your options and represent your interests if necessary.

Remember, the specific steps and procedures for filing a consumer complaint can vary, so it’s important to research the process applicable to your situation and seek assistance if needed.

Steps for filing a Consumer Complaint legally

In India, filing a consumer complaint legally typically involves the following steps:

  1. Attempt to Resolve the Issue Directly: Before taking legal action, try to resolve the issue directly with the company or service provider. Contact their customer service department and explain your complaint. Provide details of the problem and any supporting documentation.
  2. Consult a Lawyer (Optional): While not always necessary, you may choose to consult with a lawyer specializing in consumer rights to understand your legal options and get advice on how to proceed.
  3. File a Complaint with the Consumer Forum: If the issue remains unresolved, you can file a complaint with the appropriate Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (also known as Consumer Court) based on the value of the goods or services involved and the jurisdiction. In India, consumer complaints are typically filed with one of the following:
  • District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (for claims up to ₹20 lakh)
  • State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (for claims between ₹20 lakh and ₹1 crore)
  • National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (for claims exceeding ₹1 crore)
  1. Prepare Complaint Documentation: Prepare a written complaint detailing the facts of the case, including relevant dates, events, and any supporting evidence such as invoices, receipts, contracts, correspondence, or photographs. The complaint should clearly state the relief or compensation sought.
  2. Submit the Complaint: Submit the complaint along with the required number of copies (usually three) to the appropriate Consumer Forum. You may need to pay a nominal fee based on the value of your claim.
  3. Appear for Hearings: After filing the complaint, you will be required to attend hearings scheduled by the Consumer Forum. During the hearings, you will have the opportunity to present your case and provide evidence to support your claims.
  4. Wait for Judgment: The Consumer Forum will examine the evidence presented by both parties and issue a judgment based on the merits of the case. If the judgment is in your favor, it may include compensation, replacement of goods, refund of money, or any other relief deemed appropriate.
  5. Enforce the Judgment: If the opposing party fails to comply with the judgment, you may need to take further legal steps to enforce it, such as seeking execution of the order through the appropriate legal authorities.

It’s important to note that the process and procedures for filing a consumer complaint in India may vary slightly depending on the state and the specific Consumer Forum involved. It’s advisable to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations governing consumer disputes in your jurisdiction and seek legal advice if needed.

Course of action:

Step 1: Send a notice mentioning the problem/ fault you faced

The first step is to write the manufacturer or seller of the product or service and voice your concerns about it. It is strongly advised that you speak with your attorney and give the notice through the attorney on business letterhead for claims exceeding 10,000. This will demonstrate to the vendor your intention to file a lawsuit.

Step 2: Wait for a response from the vendor

It’s likely that the business will reply to your complaint after you send the legal notice. Some people may give you a just reward. The courts will not award incredibly large damages requests. You can get in touch with the consumer forum if you don’t hear back within the allotted time, which is typically 15 days.

Step 3: Select the Correct Forum

Next, a suitable consumer forum ought to be selected. The selection of the district forum, state commission, or national commission ought to be contingent upon the expenses and remuneration. You may bring your grievance before the forum or commission, or you may choose to represent yourself. The legal process could take anywhere from six to eighteen months to finish.

Step 4: Submit a written complaint

The format varies based on the selected forum. Don’t forget to document your complaint in writing. Make the perfect complaint and make sure it has all the information it needs. To prove to the judge that you tried to settle this disagreement without going to trial, you must bring the legal notice you sent to the seller or service provider to the court.

Step 5: Pay the court fee

Depending on the amount of your loss, the consumer forum’s filing department will charge you a court fee in order for you to file a consumer complaint. The court will order the seller to pay you back for all of your expenses, including legal fees and the price of filing your online consumer court complaint, if you win your case.

What are the eligibility Criteria in order to file a Consumer Complaint Online/ EDakhil?

  • The consumer protection act must apply to the case; no other civil, criminal, or labor laws may apply.
  • A reimbursement and claim amount should be included in the prayer section of the complaint.
  • The cases where clients only claim compensation, possessions, return, or exchange of goods will not come under the purview of online consumer complaints/ Edakhil
  • The consideration, refund, or claim amount cannot be filed online in the district consumer forum if it exceeds Rupees 50 lakhs.


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