My post on How to file a consumer court complaint (in Bangalore) is a hit in terms of number of daily visitors reading that post, and more importantly the number of comments and queries by email it gets, almost every day. Though most of the comments and queries are from Bangalore, quite a few are from other cities with some connection to Bangalore, for example, either the complainant or the company (opposite party) being in Bangalore. My estimate is that 20-30 people have actually filed consumer court complaints in Bangalore based on this post and sample/template/format of consumer forum complaint. One person also filed a complaint in Gurgaon based on information given in various posts and comments. So my guess is that there is no rocket science involved here, if one person can do it, anyone can!
So I will be giving information below based on what’s been working for lot of people who filed consumer complaints in Bangalore, and it’s been tested on the ground, so it should work as well in Delhi or any other city. The Consumer forums are all the same in every city, and if at all there are any minor differences in procedures, it may be in the Consumer Rules for a particular state which I will cover below based on information gleaned from Official consumer forum websites of Delhi.
To start with, the same guidelines apply as I had mentioned in my original post on how to file consumer complaint in Bangalore. These are quite important so I will reiterate them again below, because I won’t have the time to handle all the emails and comments anyway.
You must try some of the easier solutions before thinking of consumer court
Have you read the alternatives to consumer complaint post?
Answer: No. Please go back and read it. This article is meant to handle more serious consumer issues which can’t be resolved by simpler techniques.
Answer: Yes. And have you already tried those solutions? Or you don’t think your case can be resolved by those? This means your case should be serious enough and it can’t be fixed by simpler techniques like online complaint at government of India portals for consumers, complaint to banking ombudsman etc. If so, read the full article below (and the comments) on how to file complaint to consumer court in India.
Did you try filing online complaint at National Consumer Helpline or call their national toll free 1800-11-4000?
Answer: No. Filing consumer complaint is more laborious than filling an online complaint or making a phone call. So my sincere advice don’t waste anymore of your time reading what follows, unless you are sure they cannot help you in anyway.
National consumer helpline works! They are a govt website/toll-free number to help consumers resolve their consumer related issues. I have recently filed 2 complaints with them online and both the times the website worked without issues (unlike http://core.nic.in). I had even received callback from them and they gave suggestion on how to proceed on my complaint against Deccan Herald.
OR call their National Toll Free No 1800-11-4000
Maybe you tried but none of the above alternatives worked for you, so now it’s time to file a consumer forum compliant.
How much compensation to ask for in consumer complaint
The basic rule would be:
1. Ask for cost of the product/service deficiency. For a defective mobile purchased for 10,000 it could be up to 10,000 depending on severity of the defect. For a property builder not returning the funds and not delivering the property either, it would be the funds plus interest on those funds.
2. Add compensation/penalty for mental harassment, time wasted in follow up, and so on. I recommend minimum Rs 20-30,000 for most of routine kind of consumer complaints. For property builders of course, the amount of penalty asked has to be much more.
How to find if your jurisdiction lies in Delhi/New Delhi
If you bought a product/service in Delhi whether offline or online, then a consumer complaint can be filed in Delhi against a company which either has a head office or even a branch office there. Basically if someone is conducting business in Delhi, you can file complaint against them there. This would also include E-Commerce companies since they may have headquarters in one city, but they will be doing business in practically any large town/city, so by default Delhi will get included as their area of operation/sales because if you are not selling it to Delhi-wallahs, who exactly are you selling it to! Now I give the Section 11 (and maybe a headache) from Consumer Protection Act below which explains jurisdiction, to assuage the feelings of anyone who might have a doubt that I am making all this stuff up:
11. Jurisdiction of the District Forum
(1) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the District Forum shall have jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services and the compensation, if any, claimed 2[does not exceed rupees 3(twenty lakhs)].
(2) A complaint shall be instituted in a District Forum within the local limits of whose jurisdiction –
(a) the opposite party or each of the opposite parties, where there are more than one, at the time of the institution of the complaint, actually and voluntarily resides or 2[carries on business, or has a branch office or] personally works for gain; or
(b) any of the opposite parties, where there are more than one, at the time of the institution of the complaint, actually and voluntarily resides or 2[carries on business, or has a branch office or personally works for gain:
PROVIDED that in such case either the permission of the District Forum is given, or the opposite parties who do not reside, or 2[carry on business, or have a branch office, or personally work for gain, as the case may be, acquiesce in such institution; or
(c) the cause of action, wholly or in part, arises.
Format/sample/template of consumer court complaint for Delhi
Voila! We already have a successful template being used for Bangalore consumer courts, and what can be better than modify it to use it for Delhi. Just take the template given at link below and modify the places at top replacing Bangalore consumer forum with Delhi consumer forum. At the end of complaint, change the place Bangalore to Delhi. Can it get any simpler, people!
How many copies, and where to file?
Here is where official website of Delhi State consumer forum come to our rescue. I am copying the relevant information from their page below:
Along with the complaint, the complainant is required to file copies of supporting documents, i.e., cash memo, receipts, agreements, etc. The complainant is required to file 3 copies of the complaint, together with enclosures, for official purpose plus copies for the number of Opposite Parties.
The complaint should be filed along with fee in the form of Postal Order/ Demand Draft according to the amount of compensation claimed.
The complaints can be filed at the Filing Counter of the State Commission on every working day from 10.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. It is necessary for the person filing the complaint to get an acknowledgement indicating the date of filing the complaint, so as to show the Commission that the same has been filed within the period of limitation in terms of the provisions contained in the Act.
Though above site tells to make 3 copies of complaint, I would suggest to make 4-5 copies, because you will need a copy for yourselves, won’t you? The place of filing of complaint is mentioned as State commission, but that would be true for State commission complaints only (more than 50 lakh claim), so I suggest to call up the numbers of district forums given below and confirm with them about the exact place to file complaint at.
How much is the amount of draft/fees?
The hard work has already been done by Delhi state consumer forum, so I give the links to official sites:
Most of the cases I see are for complaints having claim value less than Rs 1 lakh (and the complaints are not below poverty line), so Rs 100 is the most likely fees which will need to get paid by demand draft.
Where will my consumer court be located?
For some reason, the website design of Delhi State consumer forum is inspired from state of the art dating back to late 1990s — looking at the background colours and the embedded frames. Embedded frames means I can’t give a link to the actual page easily. So you need to go the the main site below, and then click on the left menu button “District Forums” which will give you the list of District forums in Delhi, along with the areas they cover.
On another site operated by Food and Supplies Department of Delhi govt, the list of district forums is eleven:
I hope most of the information in above 2 webpages is identical. The location of your district forum will give you a clear idea of how much legwork may be required should you file a complaint and it goes to trial.
For more information, don’t hesitate to call the numbers at the various district forums above. They are meant to help consumers, and I can say with experience that the Bangalore consumer forums and administrative staff is quite efficient and helpful without showing any signs of often expected laziness and hostility from bureaucracy. In any case, with AAP government having come to power, you can always do your own private sting operation and record it in your mobile should any consumer forum official try to act smart with you
Regarding other points as to what will happen once I file my complaint, when will my case get called for first hearing, what to expect at first hearing etc; the old-and-gold post already covers these points so you can refer to them.