We all are "Consumers of Goods and Services" in one way or the other. Prior to filling of the complaint, one has to understand the meaning of "Consumer". A. Who is a Consumer? " The person must have purchased goods for some value that is he must have paid money. " A person who might not have himself purchased the goods but yet uses the goods with the approval of the buyer. " A person who has purchased goods for his personal use or to earn his livelihood by means of self-employment. " A person must have not bought goods for resale or commercial purpose. B. Who can file a Complaint? " The consumer himself or herself; " Any voluntary consumer association; " Central government or State Government; " One or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having same interest. " In case of death of a consumer, his legal heir or representative. C. Where Complaint can be filled? As per the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 a complaint can be filed in: " District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (DCDRF): If the value of the claim is up to ' 20 lakh " State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC): If the value of the claim exceeds ` 20 lakhs but is within ` one crore. " National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): If the value of the claim exceeds ` one crore. D. How to File a Consumer Complaint? Before initiating the proceedings in the court, the aggrieved party can (if desire) give notice to the opposite party stating the fact of any deficiency in service or of any unfair trade practices etc. to see if the trader is willing to settle the matter via replacing the commodity or returning the value of the purchase. " Step 1 - The party has to first identify the Jurisdiction of the forum, where the complaint has to be filed. The jurisdiction of the forum, the consumer should identify are Territorial and Pecuniary. Both have to be taken into consideration. " Step 2 - The party is required to pay a prescribed fee, with the complaint before the District, State, and National Forum. " Step 3 - Drafting of the complaint, with the necessary facts, the cause of action and the amount of damages/compensation occurred. " Step 4 - Attaching of copies of all the supporting documents, supporting the aggrieved party allegations. " Step 5 - The aggrieved party has to file an affidavit along with the complaint, stating that the above facts are true and correct. " Step 6 - The aggrieved party can present the complaint in person or by his/her authorized representative (even without engaging any advocate). E. What is the time limit for filing a complaint? A complaint has to be filed within two years from the date on which the cause of action/ deficiency in service/defect in goods arises. However, a complaint may also be filed after two years, if the complainant satisfies the District Forum that he/she has sufficient reasons for not filing the complaint within such period.
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