Top 10 Case Study on Consumer Rights
We know consumer laws and courts exist, but only by reading through some case law can you understand how you as a consumer can exercise your rights!
On an everyday basis, we purchase products and services. From our basic necessities like food and clothing to services like banking and education, we are dependent on companies and organisations to live comfortably in the present day, and we give them our hard-earned money in return. But sometimes, companies might fail to provide quality services or products. Many know there exist consumer courts and laws that protect consumers for such instances. But have you ever wondered who goes to these courts and what types of cases are filed? You would be surprised to know how basic these cases can be. So, here are 10 interesting case study on consumer rights curated for you.
1. Banks Can’t Always Escape Using ‘Technical Difficulties’
We have come to rely on banks so much. A recent case study on consumer rights highlighted the need for stronger regulations. More than ever, most of our transactions are digital and heavily reliant on banks for these. Have you ever had your transaction fail due to the server being down or other errors?
Dipika Pallikal, a squash champion and Arjuna awardee found herself in an awkward situation when she used her Axis Bank Debit Card in a hotel at Netherlands’ Rotterdam failed. She had had 10 times the bill amount in her account at that time. Due to this, she faced a loss of reputation and humiliation. The bank said the incident was a case of ‘ Force Majeure’ (an act of god/ something beyond control)
Apart from that, the bank had also returned a cheque of ₹1 lakh issued to her by the government of India and blamed it on a technical error.
Dipika moved the consumer court in Chennai against Axis Bank
The court found that there was a deficiency of service on the part of Axis Bank and directed the bank to pay a compensation of ₹5 lakh and ₹5000 as expenses.
Banks are like any other service provider. We trust them with our money and they must perform the services we were promised. They cannot hide behind ‘technical difficulties’ or ‘ force majeure ’ and let customers suffer for it.
2. You Don’t Have to Be a Celebrity to Win a Consumer Cases
A humble tea vendor, Rajesh Sakre, is an example of this. He had ₹20,000 in his State Bank of India account and had withdrawn ₹10,800. On his next visit to the ATM, however, he realised all his money was gone. When he asked the bank authorities they blamed it on him.
So, he went to the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum with his grievance. He couldn’t afford a lawyer and he argued the case himself. This case study on consumer awareness presents insights into how consumers are becoming more vigilant.
The forum ruled in his favour and ordered the State Bank of India to return the ₹9,200 with 6% interest, pay ₹10,000 as compensation for mental anguish caused by the issue, and ₹2,000 for legal expenses.
It doesn’t matter who you are, as long as you have a valid case you can approach the Consumer cases Forum. And even big companies and government entities like the State Bank of India can be made to answer for their mistakes.
3. Not All Free Items Are Welcome
Imagine you bought a bottle of Pepsi and found a packet of gutka floating in it! It happened to Rajesh Rajan from Ahmedabad when he bought Pepsi from a local store. He sent a legal notice to the company immediately and approached a Consumer cases Dispute Redressal Forum. Every case study on consumer complaint tells a unique story of a consumer’s journey towards justice.
Moreover, he claimed that there was a deficiency in service that could have caused a health hazard to him. He demanded compensation of ₹5 lakh for the same.
The consumer forum passed an order in favour of Rajesh Rajan and directed the company to pay a total of ₹4008 (₹4000 for compensation and ₹8 for the Pepsi he purchased).
Rajesh moved the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, asking for higher compensation as ₹4008 was too low and that he had spent ₹500 on sample testing itself. The State Commission passed an order asking the company to pay ₹20,000 as compensation and ₹2000 towards costs as it found Rajesh’s argument reasonable.
Free items are not all welcome! It is a deficiency in service on the part of the provider if you find anything in your food (packaged or otherwise) that isn’t supposed to be there. The Consumer Cases Forums are a good place to take them.
4. Paying More Than the MRP? You Shouldn’t.
It has become common to charge more than the maximum retail price (MRP) for packaged goods. Especially in places like theatres, food courts, railway stations, etc we see this happen a lot and mostly ignore it.Among the prominent consumer cases last year, the MRP case stood out for its complexity
Mr Kondaiah from Andhra Pradesh, on the other hand, didn’t ignore it when he noticed that Sarvi Food Court charged him ₹40 for a water bottle where the MRP was ₹20. He filed a case against them in the District Consumer cases Disputes Redressal Forum for ‘unfair trade practice’. He supported his claim by producing the bill. The MRP case study on consumer rights brought to light some gaps in the existing regulations.
The court decided in favour of Mr Kondaiah and said that a practice is not justified just because it is widely common. Mr Kondaiah was awarded a compensation of ₹20,000, ₹20 (the extra money charged) and ₹5,000 in costs.
No authority has the power to charge above the MRP for any packaged goods. It doesn’t matter where it is sold, you are not required to pay a rupee above the MRP.
5. No MRP at All on the Product?
Baglekar Akash Kumar, a 19-year-old got a book and ₹12,500 because of the book. How? He purchased the book online and when it was delivered, he noticed that there was no MRP mentioned in it. He browsed the internet and saw that the book was sold at different prices in different places.
So, he went to the consumer cases forum and filed a case against Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd and the paper company.
The court held that not publishing MRP on the product without a valid reason is ‘unfair trade practice’. MRP exists to ensure that a consumer is not overcharged for the product. So, it is mandatory for companies to print MRP.
The publishers were asked to print the retail price on the book and Akash was awarded ₹10,000 as compensation and ₹2,500 as costs.
It is required under law for companies to put MRP on every product. If you see a product without MRP, then it is a violation of Consumer cases Protection Laws and you can take them to court.
6. Medical Services Fall Within the Scope of the CPA
Do medical services fall under CPA? When there was a little confusion in this regard, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) decided to get this question resolved once and for all. The CPA case study on consumer rights brought to light some gaps in the existing regulations. The Medical Services case study on consumer complaint became a landmark case in consumer rights advocacy.
IMA approached the Supreme Court, asking them to declare that medical services are out of the scope of the CPA. They gave the following arguments to support their claim:
- Medical professionals are governed by their own code of ethics made by the Medical Council of India.
- In the medical profession, it is hard to guarantee the end result of treatments. Many external factors which are out of the control of the professional can impact the outcome. So, allowing consumer claims will cause people to file a case whenever a treatment didn’t work out.
- There are no medical science experts in the consumer complaints online.
- Medical service provided by government hospitals will not fall under the Act especially when the service is provided for free.
These were decent points. After consideration, the court settled the claims in the following manner.
Medical services provided by any professional (private or government) will be covered by CPA. Meaning people can file a case in a Consumer Court if the service provided is not in confirmation with the Act.
- Doctors and hospitals who treat patients for free cannot be sued by a person who availed their services for free.
- In a government hospital, where services are provided free of charge – the Consumer Protection Act India would not apply.
Apart from these two exceptions, the Act will apply when a person gets treated in government hospitals for free, when a poor person gets treated for free, and when insurance money is used for treatment.
7. Tired of the False Claims Made by Skin and Hair Care Products Yet?
Maybe you are not tired yet or you are too tired to question. However, a 67-year-old man from Kerala’s remotest areas was tired of these consistent lies and how companies got away with them.
In 2015, K Chaathu complained against Indulekha (beauty product manufacturers) and Mammootty (an actor who was the brand ambassador of the company) for putting up misleading ads. The tagline of the soap was ‘soundaryam ningale thedi varum’ which meant ‘beauty will come in search of you. The ads also claimed that people using the soap will become ‘fair’ and ‘beautiful’ but the 67-year-old didn’t become fair or beautiful.
Indulekha paid him ₹30,000 in an out of the court settlement while the initial claim of Chaathu was ₹50,000. When he was asked about this, he said that this case was never about the money but about how these companies put up advertisements every day with false claims. And it is not okay to let these people get away with it.
Advertisements are made to sell the products, so exaggeration of results is too common. But this doesn’t make it okay to make false claims just for the sake of selling the products. Making false claims in violation of the CTA.
8. Homebuyers Are Consumers
Imagine you decide to buy a house (a dream come true for many). You do a lot of research, pool your hard-earned money, and pay a real estate developer to build the house for you. They promise to deliver within 42 months but 4 years later they haven’t even started construction.
This is what happened to two people and they decided to move the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) for it. The Homebuyers case study on consumer rights was instrumental in changing local regulations.
NCDRC decided in favour of the homebuyers and asked the real estate developer to refund the money with a simple interest of 9% per annum. They were also awarded a compensation of ₹50,000 each.
The real estate developer challenged this in the Supreme Court, saying that the issue is covered under another Act (Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act) and therefore cannot be taken in a consumer court. But the Supreme Court denied their argument saying that as long as the other Act explicitly stops people from getting remedy under other laws, they will be allowed to do so.
Our laws are in such a way that even though there are other remedies available, in most cases where you are a buyer of a product or a service, you will have protection under the Consumer Protection Act.
9. Insurance Claims Cannot be Rejected on Mere Technicalities
We pay the premium and get insurance to protect us from losses we can’t foresee. Sadly, many people have had bad experiences with the insurance company. Om Prakash, for example, had his truck stolen and claimed insurance for the same. The truck was stolen on 23.03.2010, the FIR filed on 24.03.2010, and the insurance claim was filed on 31.03.2010.
The insurance investigator was sent and he confirmed that the claim was genuine. The claim approved for the amount of ₹7,85,000/-. But the amount was never given to Om Prakash. With the rise in consumer court cases , companies are now more cautious about their policies and practices. When he sent the insurance company a legal notice for the same, they replied saying that there was a breach of terms and conditions:
“immediate information to the Insurer about the loss/theft of the vehicle”
Om Prakash was late to apply for insurance because he was held up with the police to try and recover his vehicle.
While the consumer courts didn’t allow his case, the Supreme Court allowed his appeal and held in favour of him. It was ruled that insurance companies cannot escape from paying the claimants on technical grounds. Especially when the claimant has valid reasons for it.
The Court directed the Respondent company to pay a sum of ₹8,35,000/- to the Appellant along with interest @ 8% per annum. He was also awarded ₹50,000 as compensation.
Over the years, many judgements have been made to ensure that insurance companies are accountable and do not escape from paying valid claims. If you experience a similar situation with your insurance provided, you can approach the consumer court.
10. iPhone 5S Gold for ₹68 + ₹10,000
Let’s close the list with a fun one! How would it be to get an iPhone at just ₹68? In 2014, Nikhil Bansal (a student) saw this unbelievable offer on Snapdeal (a discount of ₹46,651) and ordered it immediately as any sane person would. He received an order confirmation but later he was told that the order was cancelled. They claimed that the offer itself was a technical glitch. “The iPhone case study on consumer complaint showcased the challenges consumers face even in today’s digital age.
When he approached the e commerce consumer complaints india Forum, he claimed that these kind of offers are misleading people and it was the duty of Snapdeal to honour the order. The forum ruled in his favour and asked Snapdeal to deliver him the iPhone for ₹68 and asked to pay a compensation of ₹2,000.
When Snapdeal appealed this order, the compensation was raised to ₹10,000!
Ecommerce stores are just as answerable as any other shop owner under the Consumer Protection Act. So if you face any issues like this with them, consider taking it to the consumer court. Through each case study on consumer rights, we can learn more about our rights and responsibilities
Consumer forums exist to protect consumers and ensure that we are not cheated by the companies we pay for getting products or services. Knowing your rights is the first step towards becoming a conscious consumer.
Don’t hesitate to approach the consumer court if you have a valid claim. Even if it is for an ₹8-product like Pepsi, a valid claim should be taken to the forum.
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Top 7 Consumer Protection Act Cases
With the growing frauds on the part of sellers whether it’s substandard quality of products/services or misleading advertisements, it is really important that the customers must be aware about their rights and responsibilities. Consumer Protection Act aims to provide speedy relief to such breach of trust or negligence. , Following are ten important cases that hold relevance in case of consumer disputes:
1. Manjeet Singh Vs. National Insurance Company Ltd. & Anr : In this case, the appellant had purchased a second - hand truck under a Hire Purchase agreement. The vehicle was insured by the respondent insurance company. One day when he was driving the truck, a passenger asked him to stop the truck and give him a lift. When he stopped the truck, the passenger brutally assaulted the driver and fled with the vehicle. An FIR was lodged and the respondent finance company was intimated about the theft. However, the insurance company rejected the claim on the ground of breach of terms of the policy. The complainant approached District Consumer Disputes Forum, State Commission and National Commission to compensate him for the loss. All of them had rejected the case. So, finally he approached the Supreme Court.
Judgment: The Supreme Court held that the appellant was not at all in fault. It can be considered as a breach of the policy, but not a fundamental breach to bring the insurance policy to an end and terminate the insurance policy. The two - judge bench of Supreme Court directed the respondent insurance company to pay 75% of the insured amount along with 9% interest p.a. from the date of filing the claim. The court also directed the insurance company to pay sum of Rs. 1, 00, 000 as compensation.
2. National Insurance Company Ltd. Vs. Hindustan Safety Glass Works Ltd. & Anr .
In this case, the insurance company had refused to compensate the respondent because of damage caused due to heavy rain during a mentioned period. The Insurance Company admittedly denied relief to the insured on the basis of one of the conditions of the policy which stated that National Insurance would not be liable for any loss or damage 12 months after the event of the loss or damage to the insured. The insured filed a complaint with the National Commission under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 .
Judgment: The National Commission held that the claim made by the insured is actionable. It also observed that the goods were insured at the time of incident and he asked for the claim next day. It rejected all the contentions urged by National Insurance and ordered the insurance company to award an amount of Rs. 21, 05,803.89 with interest at 9% per annum.
3. Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation (KPTC) Vs. Ashok Iron Works Private Limited
Ashok Iron Works, a private company which manufactures iron had applied for obtaining electricity from the state’s power generation company - the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation (hereinafter KTPC) for commencing its iron production. Inspite of paying charges and obtaining confirmation for the supply of 1500 KVA energy in February 1991, the actual supply did not begin until ten months later, in November 1991. This delay incurred a huge loss for Ashok Iron Works. This company had filed a complaint to the Belgaum Consumer Dispute Forum and later Karnataka High Court. The legal argument by KTPC was that the complaint was not maintainable as the consumer Protection Act 1986 excludes commercial supply of goods. It also made an argument that the company in engaged in manufacturing iron and intended to use it for commercial consumption which is excluded under the Act. He also said that, the complainant is not a `person’ under Section 2(1)(m) of the Act, 1986.
Judgment: In this case, Supreme Court gave his rulings. The Supreme Court mentioned the General Clause Act that includes a private company within the purview of the definition of a “Person.” It was also held that the supply of electricity by the KPTC to a consumer would be covered under Section 2(1)(o) being ‘service.’ Also, if the electrical energy consumer is not provided to a consumer in time as is agreed upon, then under Section (2)(1)(g), then there can be a case for deficiency in service. Therefore, the clause stating “supply” of goods for commercial purpose would not be applied. The Supreme Court sent this case back to District Forum for retrial on these grounds.
4. Indian Medical Association Vs. V.P. Shantha and others : A writ petition was filed by the Indian Medical Association seeking Supreme Court to declare that the Consumer Protection Act doesn’t apply to the medical profession. Indian Medical Association validated that medical professionals are governed by a separate Code of Ethics. Thus medical negligence can be dealt with by medical experts in their own jurisdiction; the Consumer Protection Act shouldn’t be applied. The writ petition involved two questions as given below:
- Whether a medical practitioner can be regarded as rendering ‘service’ under the Consumer Protection Act 1986?
- If medical services are rendered free, then would it be considered under the Act?
Judgment: The Court held that District, State and National Consumer Forums can summon experts in the field of medicine, examine evidence and protect the interest of consumers. Doctors and hospitals who render service without any charge would not fall within the ambit of “service”. In a government hospital, where services are provided free of charge - the Consumer Protection Act would not be applied. However, if customers are being provided for free to the poor, then it shall be covered as a service under the act. In case the insurance policy company pays for the treatment on behalf of the customer, then it will be covered under the Act.
5. Sehgal School of Competition Vs. Dalbir Singh: In is one of the landmark consumer protection act cases and judgments . A student was asked to deposit lump sum fees of Rs. 18,734 for coaching of medical entrance examination for the next two years. This amount was deposited by the student in two complete instalments. However, the student realized that the quality of the coaching institute was not upto the mark and therefore sought a refund for the remaining period which was further refused by the coaching institute. The appellant lodged a case against Sehgal School of Competition before National Commission. While Sehgal School of Competition submitted records that showed good results of the institute and alleged that it was wrong to observe that the coaching services are substandard.
Judgment: national commission stated that fees once paid shall not be refunded is an unfair trade practice. it quoted ugc guidelines declaring that even if a student has not attended a single class, an amount of 1000 can get deducted and proportionate charges for hostel fees, etc, and the balance amount could be refunded. state consumer forum, mentioned that not just the balance amount of fee, but also a higher compensation for legal costs as well as the pain that the student had to undertake, could be availed in such cases. , 6. sapient corporation employees provident fund trust vs. hdfc & ors : it is one of the remarkable consumer protection act cases . this consumer protection act case happened when a wrongful debit happened from a bank account. the complainant trust - sapient corporation employees provident fund trust maintained an account with the respondent hdfc bank. the bank received instructions from the employee provident fund organisation (epfo) that mentioned order of payment of 1.47 crores against the trust, and that no other payments from the trust’s account be made until epfo’s liability has not been settled by the trust. however, the trust issued an instruction to the hdfc bank not to debit any amount until further communication as they wanted to seek a stay order. however, in payment of the statutory due to epfo, the bank, after giving due time, debit the account with an amount of 1.47 crores. the challenged this transaction as a deficiency in service and demanded the amount debited along with interest, damages, and legal expenses. trust lodged the complaint against the hdfc before the national commission on the ground that bank committed default by paying an amount payable as a statutory due..
Judgment: The National Commission dismissed the argument of the complainant saying that bank informed the trust as its customer and gave them due time. So, it cannot be said that EPFO conducted deficiency in services. For this false litigation, the National Commission had imposed a penalty of Rs. 25,000 on the complainant trust to be paid to the HDFC Bank.
7. Delhi Development Authority Vs. D.C. Sharma: In this consumer protection act case , DC Sharma (respondent) a Government servant had paid an initial amount for the allotment of a DDA plot of Rs. 5 Lakhs in 1997. He requested for the extra time to pay instalments as he wanted to avail loan facility from his office. Meanwhile, he realized that the plot allotted to him through a draw of lots has already been allotted to another person two years ago. Due to this negligence of the DDA, the respondent approached the District forum that dismissed this case. Subsequently, the state Consumer forum was approached that passed an order in favor of the respondent.
Judgment: National Commission stated that when the plot was already allotted to someone else back in 1995, then why DDA took no steps in correcting its own error in the allotment. It directed DDA to pay an alternate plot of same kind or pay escalate price of Rs. 30 Lakhs.
8. V.N. Shrikhande Vs. Anita Sena Fernandes
The petitioner - Anita Sena, who was a nurse by profession underwent a stone removal surgery from her gall bladder but claimed that she continued to experience pain. After 9 years, it was detected that the reason behind this was that a gauge was left in her abdomen by the surgeon who operated her. This required a second surgery. Therefore, she filed the charges for negligence and compensation of Rs.50 Lakhs was demanded by the petitioner. She filed the case against the doctor for his negligence before Supreme Court.
Judgment: Supreme Court rejected the case on limitation and evidentiary grounds. The court held that when nurse was working in the same hospital where the surgery happened. Then, in the past nine years, why did not she contact the doctor. During the discovery of gauge in the abdomen, appropriate action could have been taken on an immediate basis without requiring the respondent to pay. But she chose to consume pain killers. Her long silence dismissed the complaint and she was entitled to no compensation.
9. Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences v Prasanth S. Dhananka & Ors
This consumer protect act case arises out of a complaint of medical negligence where a 20-year-old engineering student was admitted to the Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) after he complaint about the acute chest pain. After several tests and x - rays, a tumor was revealed. Though, it could not be diagnosed whether the tumor was malignant or not, therefore, the patient was advised to undergo surgical removal of the same. After the surgery, the patient developed paralysis. There was a complete loss of control over the lower limbs and other related complications also raised leading to urinary tract infections, bedsores, etc. The family of the patient held NIMS and the State of Andhra Pradesh statutorily liable (being a government hospital) liable for this utmost negligence. Family also claimed that no pre-operative tests conducted, no neurosurgeon was present during operation. Consent was only taken for the tumor excision, but the doctors also removed ribs, tumor mass and destroyed blood vessels leading to condition of paralysis.
Judgment: Based on the evidence, Supreme Court held that a huge negligence was made out on the part of doctors and the hospital. Hence, the court awarded damages worth Rs. 1 crore to compensate present and prospective medical expenses and suffering of life.
Q1. What is Consumer Protection Act?
Ans. The Consumer Protection Act safeguards and encourages consumers to speak against insufficiency and flaws in goods and services. It also provides easy and fast compensation to consumer grievances.
Q2. When was Consumer Protection Act passed?
Ans. The Consumer Protection Act was passed in 1986. After amendment, the Consumer Protection Act 2019 came into force. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on July 30, 2019 and Rajya Sabha on August 6, 2019.
Q3. Who is consumer under Consumer Protection Act?
Ans. ‘Consumer’ is any person who buys goods or avail services for its consumption. It includes any person except for the person avail such goods or services for the purpose of commercial or resale use.
Q4. Who can file a complaint under Consumer Protection Act?
Ans. A consumer complaint can be filed by one or more consumers, the Central or State Government, any registered voluntary consumer association and legal representative of the consumer. In case, the consumer is minor. Then, the complaint can be filed by his legal guardian or parents.
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Top 5 Milestone Consumer Cases in India that Every Consumer Should Know
We buy products and services on a regular basis. From fundamental essentials such as food and clothing to services like banking and education, we rely on companies and organisations to live comfortably in the modern world, and we pay them with our hard-earned money. However, businesses may occasionally fail to provide high-quality services or products. Many people are aware that consumer courts and regulations exist to protect consumers in such situations. Have you ever thought about who goes to such courts and what kinds of cases they hear? You'd be shocked how simple these situations may be. So, here are five fascinating consumer complaint cases for your knowledge:
1. Banks can't always claim "technical difficulties" as an excuse
We have become so reliant on banks. Most of our transactions are now digital, and we rely largely on banks for them. Have you ever had a transaction fail because the server was down or there were other issues?
Ms Dipika Pallikal, a squash champion and Arjuna awardee, was caught off guard when her Axis Bank Debit Card failed in a hotel in Rotterdam, Netherlands. At the moment, she had ten times the bill amount in her account. She suffered a loss of reputation and shame as a result of this. According to the bank, the situation was caused by "Force Majeure" (an act of God/something beyond their control).
Aside from that, the bank had also returned a 1 lakh cheque issued to her by the Indian government, blaming it on a technological error.
Dipika filed a consumer complaint with the Chennai Consumer Court against Axis Bank.
The court found that Axis Bank had provided inadequate service and ordered the bank to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh and expenses of Rs 5000.
The Key Takeaway
Banks are similar to any other type of service provider. We entrust them with our money, and they must deliver on their promises. Customers cannot be made to suffer because of "technical issues" or "force majeure."
2. Insurance claims cannot be denied based on technicalities alone
We pay a fee and receive insurance to protect us against unforeseeable losses. Many people, unfortunately, have had negative encounters with insurance companies. For example, Mr Om Prakash had his truck stolen and claimed insurance for it. The truck was taken on March 23, 2010, the police report was submitted on March 24, 2010, and the insurance claim was filed on March 31, 2010.
The insurance investigator was dispatched, and he validated the validity of the claim. The claim was authorised for a total of Rs 7,85,000.00. However, Mr Om Prakash was never given the money. When he sent a legal notice to the insurance company, they responded that there had been a breach of terms and conditions:
“immediate information to the Insurer about the loss/theft of the vehicle”
Om Prakash was late in applying for insurance since he was detained by the police while attempting to collect his vehicle.
While the consumer courts rejected his claim, the Supreme Court upheld his appeal and ruled in his favour. Insurance firms cannot avoid paying claimants on technical grounds, according to the ruling. Particularly when the claim has good justification.
The court ordered the Respondent firm to pay the Appellant Rs 83,5000 plus interest at the rate of 8% per annum. He was also given a monetary prize of Rs 50,000.
The Key Takeaway
Many decisions have been taken throughout the years to guarantee that insurance firms are held accountable and do not avoid paying valid claims. If you have a similar problem with your insurance provider, you can file a complaint with the consumer court.
3. Tired of Skin and Hair Care Products Making False Claims?
Perhaps you are not yet exhausted or are too tired to question. However, a 67-year-old guy from Kerala's far reaches was fed up with the company’s constant lies and how they got away with it.
In 2015, Mr K Chaathu filed a complaint against Indulekha (a beauty product maker) and Mammootty (the company's brand ambassador) for running misleading advertisements. The soap's tagline was 'soundaryam ningale thedi varum,' which means 'beauty will seek you out.' The advertising also stated that anyone who used the soap would become 'fair' and 'beautiful,' but the 67-year-old did not. Amusing isn't it?
Indulekha paid him 30,000 in an out-of-court settlement, but Chaathu's original claim was for 50,000. When asked about this, he stated that the lawsuit was never about the money, but rather about how these corporations place commercials with fraudulent claims on a daily basis. And it's not acceptable to allow these individuals to get away with it.
Because advertisements are created to sell items, exaggeration of outcomes is all too prevalent. However, making false promises only for the purpose of selling things is not acceptable.
4. Is there no MRP on the product?
Mr Baglekar Akash Kumar, a 19-year-old, received a book and Rs 12,500 as a result of the book. How? He ordered the book online, but when it arrived, he discovered that it didn't have an MRP on it. He looked on the internet and discovered that the book was available at various costs in several locations.
So he filed a complaint with the consumer forum against Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd.
The court ruled that failing to display the MRP on goods without a valid cause is an "unfair trade practice." MRP exists to ensure that a customer does not pay too much for a product. As a result, printing MRP is required for businesses.
Akash was given Rs 10,000 in compensation and 2,500 in costs and the publishers were asked to print the retail price on the book.
Companies are required by law to include MRP on all products. If you notice a product that does not have an MRP, it is a breach of Consumer Protection Laws, and you have the right to sue.
5. Not All Freebies Are Accepted
Imagine buying a Pepsi and discovering a package of gutka floating in it! When Mr Rajesh Rajan of Ahmedabad bought Pepsi from a neighbourhood store, this occurred to him. He promptly complained against the corporation with a legal notice and contacted a Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum.
Furthermore, he alleged that there was a service flaw that could have put his health at risk. He requested Rs. 5 lakh in compensation for the incident.
The consumer forum ruled in Mr Rajesh Rajan's favour, ordering the corporation to pay a total of Rs 4,000 to him (Rs 4,000 for compensation and Rs 8 for the Pepsi he bought).
Rajesh filed a complaint with the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, claiming that the compensation of Rs 4008 was insufficient and that he had spent Rs 500 on sample testing. The State Commission considered Rajesh's argument reasonable and ordered the corporation to pay Rs 20,000 in compensation and Rs 2,000 in fees.
Not all freebies are acceptable! If you uncover something in your food (packaged or not) that isn't supposed to be there or could be damaging to your health, the supplier has failed to offer adequate service. Take them to one of the Consumer Court.
A lot of people fail to file a complaint because they are seldom not aware of the legalities and process involved or about their basic consumer rights. Online Legal India helps them not only file their consumer complaints but also helps them in understanding the process involved in a simple manner. If you want to file in the consumer court then contact Online Legal India today.
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Consumer rights: How Indian consumers made system accountable despite long court battles
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Consumer protection | Representational image | Photo courtesy: Special arrangement
A One-Rupee Fight : Consumer Rights In India
Consumer Rights In India: Bhagwan Karia, a senior citizen and an RTI activist, fought a one-rupee case with a consumer court in Mumbai and won against the Indian Railways and a private limited company. What started as a mere exercise of checking weight on a weighing scale in a railway station in Mumbai later turned out to be a pitched battle that exposed an enormous scandal and lurking corruption within the system.
Dr MS Kamath, General Secretary of the Consumer Guidance Society of India speaks to The Probe on the state of consumer rights in India.
Bhagwan Karia, an RTI activist and the man who filed the one-rupee case | Photo courtesy: Special arrangement
Karia notes that he immediately filed an RTI petition and found out that the railways had a 60 per cent margin in the income from the weighing scales installed in the railway stations, and the private limited company had a 40 per cent share. “I later learned that even part of this margin used to be grabbed by the Station Masters and the private limited company’s agents, causing a huge revenue loss to the Indian Railways. I went to consumer court in Bandra and lodged a one-rupee case. Do you know that these one or two rupee machines give a turnover of one to two crores all over India, and this money is tax-free? There is a monopoly related to the company involved in providing this service,” claims Karia.
KR Srinivas, the man who fought and won against an insurance company | Photo courtesy: Special arrangement
Man Who Brought An Insurance Company To Its Knees
Like Karia, another consumer KR Srinivas from Bangalore, filed a case against an insurance company after they refused to give him the assured sum after he had a severe heart ailment. “I had taken an insurance policy from the Syndicate Bank, and the insurance company was United India Insurance Company. Then the Syndicate Bank merged with the Canara Bank, and my insurance was forcibly shifted to Bajaj Allianz. This was not my choice. I had chest pain and was admitted to Sagar hospital in Bangalore. The doctors did an angiogram on me and said a stent had to be placed. The hospital authorities gave me the documents, but Bajaj Allianz refused to give cashless approval and I wasn’t paid anything,” states Srinivas.
Consumer rights | Representational image | Photo courtesy: Special arrangement
While World Consumer Rights Day was observed on March 15, many consumer rights activists say India’s record for delivering justice to consumers is abysmally poor. Speaking to The Probe, Dr MS Kamath, General Secretary of the Consumer Guidance Society of India, says that consumer courts do not redress grievances on a fast-track basis, because of which the consumers’ faith in the justice delivery system has taken a beating.
Neelam Palkar, the woman who has been relentlessly fighting for nine long years after a phone she purchased for 5000 rupees stopped working | Photo courtesy: Special arrangement
A 5000-Rupee Fight For Nine Long Years
Neelam Palkar’s long and tireless battle bears testament to Dr Kamath’s statements on India’s poor justice delivery mechanism. Neelam, a makeup artist in Vile Parle in Mumbai, bought a phone in 2014 from a showroom in the city for 5000 rupees, and the phone stopped working within a month. Neelam claims the company refused to keep up their assurances, and she filed a case before the consumer court. For nine years, Neelam has been fiercely contesting her case in the consumer court, hoping that one day she would be able to make the company accountable.
“In 2014, I bought a phone from Vijay Sales showroom for 5000 rupees. They also gave me papers that said that the phone would be repaired if it got damaged within a year. But within a month, the phone got damaged. The battery used to get constantly discharged. I approached the repair centre many times, but they refused to change the battery. They also started misbehaving with me when I told them about the warranty and the promises they made to me, which were in the documents. Then I decided they needed to be taught a lesson and shouldn’t take consumers for a ride. That’s when I took them to the court,” asserts Neelam.
Dr Kamath notes that most consumer cases do not reach a logical end because of a lack of unity among consumers. He says that justice cannot be delivered to the Consumer Rights In India until those who are unaffected are as outraged as consumers who have been cheated off or victimised.
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The District Consumer Forum is established in all the District of India, The State Consumer Commission is established in all the State Capitals of India, The “National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission” situated in New Delhi and the governing law is "Consumer Protection Act, in India". It is important to note that the goods purchased or services availed for commercial purposes cannot be challenged under the Consumer Protection Act of India .
Consumer Protection in India
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 aims to provide better protection of interest of consumers and enacts for the establishment of consumer councils and authorities for settlement of consumer disputes and matters that are connected therewith. The Act extends to whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Act applies to all goods and services and the central government may by notification expressly exclude applicability of the Act to goods or services by providing for the same in the notification. The Act defines consumer in section 2 (d) as a person who buys goods or hires services for consideration or a price paid or promised to be paid but does not include a person who buys goods or hires services from the applicability of defines consumer as a person who has bought goods or hires services for commercial purposes. The supreme court of India has observed that a person who buys goods or hires services for any activity intended to generate profit commercial activity is outside the purview of the definition contained in consumer protection act. Section 2 (b) defines complainant as a consumer, a voluntary consumer association formed under companies act, 1957, central or state government, one or more consumer having common interest or legal heir or representative in case death of consumer who files the complaint. Section 2 (c) defines complaint as allegation in writing made by the complainant. This allegation may include:
- Unfair or restrictive trade practice that is quality of the good is below standard prescribed for the same.
- Goods bought suffer from defects and these may include spurious goods that are these goods are not genuine or are fake or imitated copies.
- Services that are hired or to be availed suffer from some deficiency.
- In case price charged for the goods are in excess to the price displayed on the cover or price fixed for the same by virtue of law in force or price agreed by the parties.
- In case the goods offered are in contravention to the prescribed safety standards or are risk to safety of consumer or the trader could have known after exercising due diligence that goods offered are unsafe.
A compliant can be filed by a consumer against manufacturer or a dealer of goods or service provider for any defective goods or deficiency of services provided or rendered by them to the consumer.
Original Complaint in Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum
The original complaint can be filed at Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum at district level of a state known at District Forum on the basis of territorial jurisdiction i.e. complaints can be filed in the district forum within whose limits either cause of action arose or complainant or opposite party resides or carries business. The complainant on the basis of territorial jurisdiction can file compliant within 2 years from the date of cause of action when arose. Original complaints where value of goods or services and compensation claimed is not exceeding Rs 20 lakhs can be filed in District Forums. The complaints exceeding this value can be filed in State Commission and National commission only on the basis of pecuniary jurisdiction i.e. value of goods or services and compensation claimed. Section 12 defines the manner in which complaints are presented to Forums and section 13 provides the mechanism through which it is admitted in the District Forum. The complaint is required to contain allegation in respect of goods or services hired and contain details of events leading to cause of action accompanied by fees prescribed and copies of the same to be presented to the Forum and for opposite party. The complaint should clearly indicate name and address of the complainant and opposite party.
Complaints in the Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission
Each state of India is provided with a Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission Known as State Consumer Commission. A Complaint involving value of goods or services and damages claimed exceeding 20 lakhs rupees but not exceeding 1 crores rupees can be filed straight away in the State Commission on the basis of territorial jurisdiction. The complaint should contain address of the complaint, details of complaint along with all supporting documents. Three copies of the complaint along with one copy for the opposite party can be filed on all working days i.e. Mondays to Fridays accompanied by fees as prescribed for the same. This prescribed fee for filing the complaint is in accordance to the compensation claimed and with respect to the state consumer protection act rules. The complainant shall receive an acknowledgment that indicates date of filling of complaint indicating that the complaint has been filed within the prescribed period of limitation for filing the complaints.
Consumer Complaints in The National Commission
The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission of India is situated in New Delhi. In case the value of goods or services and compensation claimed exceeds 1 crores rupees then, Consumer Complaint by virtue of Section 21 a (1) can be filed in the National Commission. The consumer complaint can be filed with 2 years from the date of cause of action. The National Commission or National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission is situated at New Delhi. The complaint is required to be signed by the complainant and should be filed in English language only or a translated copy of any other language can be filed. It should be accompanied by a notarised attested affidavit. It should be filed 1 + 3+ number of opposite party’s sets and must contain list of dates, address of parties, complaint and any other supporting document in the support of complaint. In case the complaint is filed beyond the period of 2 years from date of cause of action then, application for con donation of delay in filing the application can be filed.
Appeals against orders of District forums can be brought to the State Commission and appeal against the orders of State Commission can be brought as revision petition to National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission or National Commission. Any aggrieved person from the order of District commission may prefer appeal against this order within 30 days of the receipt of this order to State Commission under section 15 of the Act. This shall include memorandum of parties, order of District Forum appealed against and all document or enclosures enclosed in the District Forum. First appeal against the decisions of State Commission lies in the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission. A person who is aggrieved by the State Commission order may prefer appeal against this decision in the National commission within 30 days of receipt of the order on all working days. This application should be filed in English language only or any translated copy of any other language along with the attested notarised affidavit. It should be accompanied by memo of parties, stay application, certified copy of state commission order, copy of the complaints and all documents including pleadings, evidence filed in State Commission along with the demand draft in favour of Registrar of NCDRC New Delhi as prescribed by Section 19 . Revision petition under section 21(b) can be filed with National Commission by the aggrieved party to call for records or pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is pending or has been decided by the State Commission and National Commission is of the opinion that there is material irregularity or state commission has exercised power which is not vested in it or exceeded the power vested in it or failed to exercise the power vested in it. These are too be accompanied by all document including pleading filed in the district and State commission and should include memo parties, orders of State and District commission as the case may be and should be filed in 3 copies with one copy for the opposite party or one copy of each opposite party in case of more than one.
The complainant can file transfer applications in the National Commission under Section 22 B of the Act to the National Commission for transfer of any complaint from a District Forum to another District Forum or transfer any complaint from a State Commission to another State Commission. It should be accompanied by notarised affidavit and copy of complaint and any documents or appeal filed in district or state commission. It is also should be filed in English language or translated copy of any other language on all working days. The National Commission on its own motion also may transfer compliant from one district forum to other or from one state commission to other.
Consumer Appeals in The Supreme Court
Appeal against orders of the national Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission can be filed in the Supreme Court of India under Section 23 of the Act. Special Leave petition can be filed in the Supreme Court of India under Article 136 of the Constitution seeking special permission of the apex court to hear the matter against the decision or order passed by the national consumer dispute redressal Commission. The petition is required to be filed within 90 days of the date of order. The court can however in case of presence of sufficient causes can condone the delay and allow the petition. In case of Special leave petition if it is allowed then it is heard within 15 days of it admission.
Orders That Can Be Passed By District Forums, State Commission and National Commission
- Orders pass Removal of the defect pointed out.
- Replacement of the goods with new goods of good quality.
- Return the price paid by the complainant for the goods or services.
- Pay as a damage or a compensation for the loss or injury suffered on account of negligence of the opposite party in case the forum is authorised to award punitive damages.
- To remove the defects or deficiency in the goods or services
- To discontinue the unfair trade or restrictive practice.
- To not offer the hazardous goods and remove them from sale.
- To award adequate cost.
Experience of The Law Senate
The Firm has a strong experience in handling all types of Consumer Litigation including original Complaints, Revision Petitions and appeals in Delhi. Law Senate has handled various landmark cases in the National Commission Dispute Redressal Commission which is situated in New Delhi. The partners being qualified Advocates on Record have handled many Consumer Appeals in the Supreme Court of India. Law Senate has expert lawyer for consumer cases in state and national Dispute Redressal Commission
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