In the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2011, introduced in the Parliament last year, it made failure to issue a bill or a cash memo, an unfair trade practice.
Under the Consumer Protection Act, a consumer has a right to be protected against unfair trade practices so he/she can complain against those who do not issue the bill, for unfair trade practice. The Amendment Bill, which is now before the Parliamentary Standing Committee, is expected to be passed in the next session of Parliament.
Hence, this is an unfair trade practice so you can approach the appropriate consumer forum.
The following person/association can file the complaint before the designated authorities:-
- Any consumer to whom the goods or services were provided
- Group of consumers having similar interest in the matter
- Consumer Associations
- State Government or Central Government
- In case of minor-legal guardian
- Central Authority
In the Old Act, there was no mention of the Central Authority, however, the New Act introduces the "Central Authority" in District, State and Central level, which can file consumer complaint before the jurisdictional commission after a thorough investigation in the matter.
The New Act introduces Alternative Dispute Mechanism for the speedy and effective redressal of the consumer cases.
Initiation of Mediation Proceedings:
- If the commissions thinks there is a possibility of a settlement of the dispute between the parties, then same can be transferred to Mediation Cell or ;
- The written request can be made by either of the parties to District, State or National Commission stating
- Details of the parties
- Nature of the dispute
- Amount involved
- Relief sorted
- Proposal for appointment of Mediator (Language, Qualification, experience, etc)
Procedure to be followed
- Parties can mutually agree on the procedure to be followed or;
- If parties fail to come for mutual ground, then the mediator shall follow the procedure mentioned below :
- Mediator shall fix the time, date and venue, where parties have to be present or ;
- Mediation Proceedings can be held at the Mediation Cell attached to District, State or National Commission.
- Joint/ Separate meetings of the parties to be conducted.
- Within the period of 10 days, before the session, both the parties shall submit the Memorandum of Issues to the mediator and other parties involved highlighting the issues which need to be resolved.
- Necessary information to be provided to the mediator by both the parties.
- Mediator shall facilitate a voluntary resolution between the parties, communicate view of the parties and help the assist the issue.
- Within the period of 30 days the parties should reach an amicable settlement.
- If the parties arrive at a settlement, the same shall be reduced in writing and the same needs to be signed by both the parties and Mediator. Mediator shall further submit the detailed report of settlement to the concerned commission.
- If parties failed to reach a settlement, then Mediator shall submit the report to the commission stating the reasons for non-settlement.
Institution of Consumer Complaint:
The New Act introduces the "Online Filing" of Consumer Complaint.
Step 1 (Issuance Of Notice): Before the filing of the complaint, it is advisable for the complainant to issue a notice to the opposite party, highlighting the defects/deficiencies in the goods or services provided. If parties don't agree to come to a mutual understanding then the complainant can file a complaint before a jurisdiction authority/forum.
Step 2 (Determining the Jurisdiction): The Complaint has to be filed within the Pecuniary and Territorial Jurisdiction.
Pecuniary Jurisdiction: (As Per New Act)
- District Commission: Amount not exceeding 1 crore
- State Commission: Rupees 1 Crore to 10 Crore
- National Commission: Amount exceeding Rupees 10 Crore
Whereas, under old Act, the pecuniary jurisdiction was as below:
- District Commission : Amount not exceeding Rupees 20 lakhs
- State Commission: Rupees 20 Lakhs to 1 Crore.
- National Commission: Amount exceeding 1 Crore.
Place where the opposite party resides or if there are more than one opposite party, then the place where opposite parties reside or carry on business or personally works for gain.
Step 3 (Submission of Complaint): Complaint can be submitted in the form of Writing or through Online.
Registration of Online Complaint
- Aggrieved Party can register complaints on https://consumerhelpline.gov.in/ .
- Complaints can be registered by filling essentials details like name, email, contact number & password.
- Complainant will receive login credentials though which he can register a complaint by uploading required documents.
- There are different portals available for different sectors.
- A consumer can also register complaints through Mobile Apps namely the NCH app, Umang App or Consumer App.
- Post-registration of the complaint, complainant will be provided with a unique identification number through which he can determine the status of the complaint.
- Fees for the complaint can be submitted through online payment portal.
Step 4 : (Contents of the Complaint): Complaint should contain the following information
- Name and complete details of complainant And opposite party.
- Date and time of purchase of goods/ availing of services.
- Necessary Facts of the case establishing the cause of action.
- Particulars of dispute: Defect in goods/ deficiency in service.
- Relief sought
- Copies of the documents supporting the contention of the complainant. (Invoice, Warranty receipt, etc)
Step 5 (Limitation for filing Complaint/Appeal): The Complaint before the District Commission needs to be filed within the 2 years from the date of dispute. Further, appeal before State Commission to be filed within45 days from the date of order of District Commission. Further, appeal to the National Commission should be made within 30 days from the date of receipt of the order from the lower forum.
Step 6 (Court Fees): The Court fees have to be paid in the form of Demand Draft, in respect of the Registrar of respective Commissions. In respect of the National Commission, the appellant has to make the Demand Draft of Rupees 5,000/-.