CONSUMER FORUM COMPLAINTS

There is a wealth of information available on the Internet regarding consumers rights in general. Yet, we don’t find much material or general guidelines for drafting and filing consumer complaints. I often come across poorly drafted or unorganized Complaints; errors that can be avoided easily . Here are some of the things that may be kept in mind while filing a complaint before the Consumer Forums. Most of them are plain obvious but often overlooked by individuals unfamiliar with Court proceedings.

  1. Restrict yourself only to the facts having a bearing on your Complaint. Try to avoid unnecessary personal allegations unless they are relevant to the Complaint. Remember, keep it short and simple; nobody has the time, patience or inclination to read volumes of irrelevant facts to reach to the bottom of your case.
  2. Consumer forums don’t require typewritten Complaints; even handwritten complaints may be made to the Forums. It may, however, be advisable to file typed complaints for the obvious ease of reading, as compared with handwriting.
  3. If a supporting document is in vernacular language, it would be preferable to get it translated and typed. Same for documents which are not legible; get them typed before filing.
  4. This one may be a bit cumbersome, but it is advisable to keep a record of orders made by the Bench on each date. Orders can be inspected from file from the ‘Registry’ of the Forum and noted down, upon payment of a fee by Postal Order. An organized record of proceedings in the case makes it easier to follow its course and often avoid unnecessary adjournment.
  5. Attachments: Complaints are generally accompanied with documents in support of the Complaint. Often the Complainants simply tag a bunch of photocopies of the documents in a haphazard manner. At the stage of oral hearings however, all the people concerned, including the Complainant, the Opposite Party and the Judge have trouble locating the relevant documents. The answer is, again, obvious.
  • Put page numbers on each page of the complaint.
  • Start page numbering at the first page of the Complaint and continue numbering to the documents.
  • Create an index of documents. Give an annexure number to each document. Annexure A-1, A-2 … and so forth.
  • Whenever a document is referred to in the body of the Complaint, refer to it by the Annexure number.E.g. “The Complainant wrote a letter to the manufacturer. Copy of this letter is Annexure A-4”
  • Consider an example. A consumer purchased a television set which developed fault and was delivered to the manufacturer for repair repeatedly. Now, the consumer may have attached copy of the purchase bill, copies of the acknowledgment receipts received from the manufacturer at each time the television was handed over to the manufacturer for repair, copies of letters/notices. Suppose the Judge asks the consumer for a proof of first time the television set was given for repair. But the same cannot be easily located in the mass of papers and everybody ends up fumbling. Or, the Complainant may have referred to a letter in his Complaint and the Judge may ask for a copy of the letter mentioned in a particular paragraph but it cannot be located in the bunch of papers. f the complaint and documents are managed as suggested before, all one has to do is refer to a particular document by Annexure number and page number. Taking the same example, in an organized file, when the Judge seeks a document, it may be quickly referred to by the Annexure and page number.

Feel free to point out if there is any other ‘obvious’ that I may have missed!

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One Response to “CONSUMER FORUM COMPLAINTS”

  1. […] You can go to a consumer forum…there is no set pattern for filing a consumer complaint. See my blog post is of any help is drafting your complaint. At the same time, I do suggest getting in touch with the […]

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