Generally, once the consumer is disrupted by the infringement of a specific consumer right or other ways, they can file a complaint about the same via offline and online mode. The department of consumer affairs has set up a web-based portal known as INGRAM (Integrated Grievance Redress Mechanism) to resolve the grievance encountered by the consumer lay–to-lay basis. The write-up will highlight the procedure for filing the consumer grievance online.
But before we start explaining the main topic, lets us know the fundamental meaning of consumer and their rights. The term “consumer” is briefly defined under section 2(7) of the Consumer Protection Act 2019. However, a consumer is defined as an individual who purchases any goods or services against a set price via offline or online mode.
When a Person can be called as “Consumer”?
- Person buys any goods against the pre-determined price which has been paid or promised or under any system that supports deferred payment and involves any user of such goods other than the individual who purchases such goods for consideration paid or promised or partly promised, or partially paid, or under any system that supports deferred payment, when such use is made with the consent of such individual but does not include a person who buys such goods for resale or for the sake of commercial intention; or
- Hires or obtains any service for a payment which has been paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised, or under any arrangement that supports deferred payment and involves any person that avail of such service other than the individual who hires or obtains the benefits for payment paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any arrangement facilitating deferred payment, when such services are received of with the consent of the former individual, but does not include an individual who receives such service with commercial intention.
What are the Rights of Consumer under the Consumer Protection Act?
At present, six types of consumer right exist under section 2(9) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. They are:
- the right to be safeguarded against the marketing of goods, products, or services which can endanger the life and property;
- the right to be informed regarding the quantity, quality, potency, standard, & price of goods, or services, as per the circumstances, so as to safeguard the consumer against the malpractices of trade.
- the right to be sure about the access to arrays of products or services at fair prices;
- the right to be heard & to be assured that the interest of the consumer will receive due attention at a suitable forum;
- the right to seek justice against any malpractice of trade or unlawful exploitation of consumers; and
- the right to consumer awareness.
Read our article:Comprehensive Guide on Consumer Protection Rules on E-Commerce, 2020
Procedural Instructions for Filing Consumer Grievance Online
In contravention of the rights above, the consumer can step forward to lodge a complaint on an online portal known as INGRAM (Integrated Grievance Redress Mechanism). The consumer can use the following URL to reach out to this portal. www.consumerhelpline.gov.in
There is no guest session on this portal- meaning consumers have to register on this portal for registering the complaint. For the registration, tap on the link above and select the option called “user login”.
Step 1: Complete the Sign-up Process
The consumer must enter the credentials such as name, gender, email address, password to complete the sign-up process. And the same can be validated via the consumer’s email. Then the login credential is created.
The consumer has to enter details like name, gender, email id, password, etc., for sign up. And the same can be verified through consumer email. Then the User ID and password are created.
Step 2: Fill the “Grievance Registration Form.”
Use the credentials above to login into the portal and locate the form called “Grievance Registration Form.” The consumers must fill the entire form with the relevant information by attaching the requested documents. After filling this form with the utmost care and the consumer can submit the same.
Step 3: Note Down the Unique Docket Number
As soon as the complaint is filed on the portal successfully, a unique docket number will appear on the screen. Moreover, the registered complaint will find its way to the concerned company /regulator/ agency /ombudsman for speedy redressal. The portal also facilitates the option of checking the status of the complaint on a real-time basis.
Step 4: Check Real-Time Status
Once the complaints have been lodged, the consumer can check the real-time status of the same on the portal under the option ‘Track your Grievance’. All types of complaints regarding the Consumer complaint and issues can be lodged on this web-based portal.
The primary objective behind the establishment of this portal is to bring all stakeholders such as consumers, Ombudsman, central & state government avenues, etc., all under one umbrella. And this portal will help in spreading awareness regarding consumer rights among Indian citizens.
Each & every complaint received via this web-based portal will be forwarded to the concerned company for speedy disposal. The max- the time limit to arrive at the rational conclusion is sixty days. This portal will ensure to get the complaints resolved by the concerned authorities. But all the complaints might not be fully redressed. In case of non-addressable of grievance, the company has the right to share the same with the appropriate consumer commission/forum.
The ultimate objective behind the launch of this portal by the Department of Consumer Affairs is to garner awareness among the Indian citizens about the protection of consumer rights and to resolve the consumer complaint effectively and smoothly. This web-based filing method is also deemed time-saver compared to the traditional mode of filing a complaint.
Every citizen of India possesses equal rights to raise their concern against the malpractices of trade and criminal code of conduct. Upon the violation of the rights above, the concerned citizen can step forward and lodge the complaint about the same either to retrieve the compensation or penalize the defaulter.
With these arrangements in place, the Buyer-seller ecosystem will stay isolated from prejudice and unlawful activities. By setting up the online portal, the department of consumer affairs aims to curb the hindrances that affect consumer rights in one way or another.
Read our article:Here are the Steps to File a Consumer Complaint in India