Consumer Complaint

What Are The Different Consumer Forums?

calendar19 Apr, 2023
timeReading Time: 5 Minutes
What Are The Different Consumer Forums?

Consumers are those who buy items to use or consume for their personal purposes. A consumer may use the good, product, or service to sustain themselves and carry out self-employment even when they are not permitted to resell it.

What are Consumer Forums?

The 2019 Consumer Protection Act protects consumers’ interests. Many outstanding consumer complaints that were being adjudicated in consumer courts around the country could not be addressed without the help of this statute. It offers techniques and resources for promptly addressing client problems.

The main objective of the Consumer Protection Act of 2019 is to protect consumers’ rights by establishing organizations for the timely and effective management and settlement of consumer complaints. The law allows for the formation of councils to inform and encourage consumer awareness of dishonest business practices.

A complaint may be made in accordance with the act in situations involving unfair trade practices, restricted trade practices, unfair contracts, the higher price demanded by the seller, the sale of items that pose a risk to life and property, and other situations.

If The Relevant Forum Rules In Favors Of The Aggrieved Party, It May Issue One Or More Of The Following Directives To The Opposing Party:

  1. Repair the damaged items or correct the service flaw.
  2. Replacement of the faulty item with a new one
  3. Refund the consumer’s purchase price for the item or service.
  4. Provision of monetary compensation for the loss or harm sustained
  5. Punitive damages must be paid.
  6. Removal of deceptive advertising and publication of a correct advertisement.
  7. Payment of an adequate amount (not less than 5% of the disputed good) to the Consumer Welfare Fund.
  8. Reducing the production of dangerous items.

Types of Consumer Forums

  • District Forum Called the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum:

Composition: Its president must be a state-appointed official who is, has been, or meets the requirements to serve as a district judge. Two additional members must also be at least 35 years old, at least one of whom must be a woman, have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, be people of ability, integrity, and standing, and have sufficient knowledge and experience of at least 10 years in dealing with issues related to business, law, commerce, accounting, industry, public affairs, or administration.

Term of Office: For five years or until the age of 65, whichever comes first? A member is eligible for reappointment for further five-year terms within the stipulated age restriction.

  • State Forum Called State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission:

Composition: Its president must be a person selected by the state government who is, has been, or has been a high court judge. Two other members, one of whom must be a woman, must be at least 35 years old, have a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university, and be people of ability, integrity, and standing, with at least ten years of experience dealing with economic, legal, commerce, accounting, industry, public affairs, or administration problems.

Terms of Office: For five years or until the age of 67, whichever comes first? Within the stipulated age restriction, a member is entitled to reappointment for a further term of five years.

Circuit Bench: The state commission shall initially function in the state capital but may conduct its powers at such other locations as the state government may announce from time to time in collaboration with the state commission.

  • National Commission Called National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission:

Composition: Its president must be a person selected by the central government who is, has been, or has been a Supreme Court judge. Not less than 4 and not more than such a number of members, at least one of whom shall be a woman, who shall have qualifications, namely, being not less than 35 years old, possessing a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university, being persons of ability, integrity, and standing, and having adequate knowledge and experience of at least 10 years in dealing with problems relating to economic, law, commerce, accountancy, industry, public affairs, or administration.

Terms of office: For five years or until the age of 70, whichever comes first? Within the stipulated age restriction, a member is entitled to reappointment for a further term of five years.

Circuit benches: Circuit benches: The national commission shall generally function in New Delhi but may execute its functions at any other location that the federal government may designate from time to time in agreement with the national commission.

Functions of the Consumer Forums

  • Advising function on broad consumer concerns to ministries
  • Development and use of consumer protection measures
  • Investigate a customer’s complaint about the sale of products or the supply of services to ascertain if the customer was sincere in their complaint or not.
  • Conduct an independent inquiry
  • Encourage the growth of organisations established for the protection of consumers.
  • Compile, examine, and disseminate data on any industry or business
  • Consumer rights education and provider-consumer conflict resolution
  • Do the duties as occasionally ordered by the minister

Powers of the Consumer Forums

The district consumer forum has the same powers as a civil court under the Civil Procedure Code of 1908 when trying a suit in the following areas:

  • Summoning and compelling any defendant or witness to appear, as well as questioning the witness under oath
  • Discovering and producing any document or other tangible thing as proof.
  •  The taking of evidence on affidavits
  •  Obtaining the report of the applicable analysis or test from the competent laboratory or any other relevant source
  • The issuance of any commission for the examination of any witness, as well as any other matter that may be mandated

In addition to the aforementioned authorities, the state and national commission must evaluate the district forum’s judgement because the district forum lacks the authority to review its own order.

Pecuniary Jurisdiction of the Consumer Forum in India

As Per The 1986 Consumer Protection Act, Complaints Can Be Filed In:

According to the old scale of the CPA of 1986,

  1. District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (DCDRC): If the value of goods or services paid as consideration does not exceed Rs. 20 lakh.
  2. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC): If the value of goods or services paid as consideration exceeds Rs. 20 lakh but does not exceed Rs. 1 crore.
  3. National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): If the value of goods or services paid as consideration exceeds Rs. 1 crore.

According to the new scale (CPA) of the 2019

As per the proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection Act of 1986, the pecuniary jurisdiction is proposed to be revised, which is as follows:

  1. District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (DCDRC): If the value of goods or services paid as consideration does not exceed Rs 1 crore,
  2. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC): If the value of goods or services paid as consideration exceeds Rs 1 crore but does not exceed Rs 10 crore,
  3. National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC):If the value of goods or services paid as consideration exceeds Rs. 10 crore.

Conclusion

The 2019 Consumer Protection Act safeguards the interests of consumers. This law was essential in resolving several unresolved consumer complaints that were being heard in consumer courts around the nation. It provides methods and tools for quickly resolving customer complaints. The Consumer Protection Act of 2019’s[1] primary goal is to safeguard customers’ rights by establishing institutions for the prompt and efficient administration and resolution of consumer disputes.

Read Our Article: Why & How To Go To Consumer Court

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