Consumer Protection Council, Rourkela
  about us
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Excess charging......MRP not printed......Cost of fighting cases....Getting refund from NBFCs.....Builder problem......Ration Shop menace.......Non-issuance of cash memo......Income Tax Refund......Injured while travelling........Medical negligence......Postal negligence......Deficient service by a Courier.......LIC agent problem......Misleading advertisement.......Bogus College.....Compulsory purchase of gas stove.....Home Delivery of cooking gas......Excess Telephone Bill........Jurisdiction of Consumer Courts......Can Consumer Complainant be penalised........Public Interest Petition under CP Act.......Can Commercial establishments seek redress......Are VCOs supported by government......How VCOs survive........Benefit of joining a VCO.

1. I purchased an item from the shop. The shopkeeper charged me in excess of the MRP printed on the wrapper. How can I initiate action against the shopkeeper ?

In such instances insist on cash memo. If you could get the cash memo for the amount paid you can easily prosecute him through the Asst. Controller of Legal Metrology of your area or can directly take up the matter with the Consumer Court (District Forum) of your area. Even in case you could not obtain the cash memo, complain about your experience to the Asst. Controller of Legal Metrology of your area or to the Voluntary Consumer Organisation. In the absence of Cash Memo, if you can have a witness who can vouch for your version, you could still succeed in prosecuting the erring shopkeeper.

2. I purchased an item and on the wrapper the M.R.P. was not printed. Where should I complain ?

           All packaged commodities, but for a few items, which come under the category of perishable commodities, are covered under Packaged Commodities Rules, 1977. As per these rules all the commodities sold in packaged form, should have the following details printed on the wrapper/package :
(1) Name of the product ;
(2) Name & address of the manufacturer ;
(3) Date of manufacturing ;
(4) Net content of the package in number or volume (ml/litre) or weight (gm./Kg.) ;
(5) Maximum Retail Price (inclusive of taxes).
         In case any of the above information is found missing, you can immediately lodge your complaint with the Asst. Controller of Legal Metrology of your area along with the wrapper, or else you can also lodge your complaint with the local Voluntary Consumer Organisations, like CPC, Rourkela, for doing the needful.

3. How expensive it is to fight a case in the District Forum ?

Practically it should not cost you much provided you are willing to fight the case on your own. In the Consumer Courts (District Forum, State Commission and the National Commission), concerned individuals like you can directly file a complaint petition and can secure relief. The prescribed procedures are simple and these are no court fees, in contrast to the Civil Courts. These quasi-judicial bodies are also supposed to decide within 90 days of lodging the complaint and without insisting on too much technicalities. But in practice there is lot of delay is yet another matter.

4. I invested some money with a Non Banking Financial Company (NBFC). The said company is not honouring its commitments. How shall I get back my money ?

In spite of huge number of investors getting fleeced by unscrupulous NBFCs there is still no sign of any respite from this menace. You may write to the concerned Bench of the Company Law Board (CLB) under whose jurisdiction the NBFC is functioning or take up the matter with the relevant Consumer Court. If the NBFC has become sick or declared insolvent, there is hardly anything that you can do about it.

5. I deposited some money with a builder, for a flat (living accommodation). The builder has not kept up his word and there is an inordinate delay in handing over the flat. What should I do ?

Since you must have invested good amount of money, you must be having all the necessary documents to pin the builder. That being so, you can straight away seek redress before the Consumer Court of appropriate jurisdiction. For details you can approach a voluntary consumer organisations like CPC, Rourkela.

6. Our Ration (PDS) shop is not operating properly. We do not even receive the essentials every month. What can I do ?

You can lodge a written complaint with the Asst. Civil Supplies Officer of your area or approach the Voluntary Consumer Organisation of your area.

7. The shop which I visited recently did not issue Cash Memo though I insisted for the same. The shopkeeper was even rude and told me that I need not purchase from him if I was not interested. Please advice.

The problem that you have cited happens quite often. Don't get disheartened. Please write to the Commercial Tax Officer of your area requesting him to do the needful. In every State, as per Commercial Tax Laws the shopkeeper is supposed to issue a Cash Receipt whenever the sale is more than a particular value. In case of Orissa, it is Rs. 20/-.

8. The Income Tax Authorities are not making the refunds in time. Can I approach the Consumer Court ?

No. You cannot, I.T. authorities are not providing any service for a consideration. They are only supposed to be discharging their duties under the constitution. You are also not a consumer as defined in the Consumer Protection Act.

9. I was travelling by a train and got injured due to unsafe condition existing in the compartment. Can I approach the Consumer Court for proper relief ?

Yes. You can definitely approach the Consumer Court of appropriate jurisdiction to obtain suitable relief.

10. One of my close relatives recently died due to the negligence of the Doctor who was attending to him. Will it be possible to get relief through the Consumer Court ?

One can definitely get relief for medical negligence, from the Consumer Courts. But before venturing to file a case in a Consumer Court ensure yourself that the death occurred due to negligence or deficient service. Collect enough evidence to prove your case. Ascertain expert opinion about the cause of death. If possible, try to enlist the support of another medical practitioner. Otherwise you could end up harassing a good professional and also could be asked to pay compensation for filing a frivolous or vexatious complaint.

11. I sent an important document by Registered Post. The same had been lost in transit. Can I claim for compensation in the Consumer Court ?

You can claim for compensation for the lost document but you will not receive anything unless and until you prove that the said document had been lost due to intentional negligence or wilful act of the concerned postal employee. This could sound ridiculous but true as Section 6 of the Indian Postal Act provides immunity to all the postal employees for the loss or damage of articles in transit.

12. I had sent a valuable item by courier service and the same has been lost. Will I be compensated for the loss ?

You can approach the appropriate Consumer Court but will receive only a token compensation for the item lost unless you had declared the value of the consignment in the Consignment Note or can conclusively prove the value of the item sent.

13. I have been remitting my quarterly premiums regularly to LIC through one of its agents. Now I learn that the Insurance Policy has lapsed since the last 2 months due to non-payment of premium. Can I hold LIC responsible for the omission of its agent ?

No. You cannot. The LIC agent is not authorised to collect the premium on behalf of LIC. To revalidate your policy you have to pay the arrears along with fine, etc.

14. I have become a victim of a misleading advertisement. Can I get any relief from the Consumer Courts?

Yes. You can get relief. But remember to provide all necessary evidence along with your complaint petition, to the concerned Court.

15. I admitted my son in a College as it claimed that it is recognised and is affiliated to a reputed University. But later it was found that there was no truth in that claim. In the process my son lost two years. Can I claim compensation from Consumer Court ?

Yes. You can. File a petition in the appropriate Consumer Court, along with documentary evidence, such as brochure issued by the College, etc. You will get suitable relief.

16. The Cooking gas dealer is insisting that I should purchase the gas stove from him so that I may get my gas connection. What should I do ?

The cooking gas dealer cannot insist that a customer should procure a gas stove only from him nor he can make it as a precondition for release of gas connection. He is only authorised to ensure that the customer is in possession of a standard (BIS approved) gas stove before releasing a gas connection, for which the customer has to pay the inspection charges (with due receipt). In case the dealer is not amenable to reason, take up the matter with the representative of the Gas Company (IOC, HP, BP, etc.) or with the local Voluntary Consumer Organisation.

17. Our Cooking Gas dealer is not giving "Home Delivery" of the refill cylinders. Can I take up in the Consumer Court ?

You can take up such deficient service before the Consumer Court and you will receive suitable compensation.

18. I have received an excessive telephone bill. I immediately lodged a complaint. But there is no action from DOT. Please advice.

After the introduction of Dynamic locking facilities both for local as well as STD facilities, the onus is now on the consumer to prove that the bill is wrong and this is quite difficult. Anyhow without losing heart, you request the DOT authorities to monitor your line. DOT will give a report/a print out of the monitored period. If there are abnormalities in the running of the meter, that will come to surface and strengthen your case for correction of the bill. Always remember to utilise the Dynamic locking facility for both local and STD.

19. Can I approach the Consumer Court of my area for resolving any consumer dispute ?

        You should approach the appropriate Consumer Court for redressal of your grievance. 
        You should remember that the District Forum has a jurisdiction to arbitrate cases involving a pecuniary loss not exceeding Rs. 20 lakhs. Similarly the State Commission has jurisdiction on claims above Rs. 20 lakhs and up to Rs. 1 crore and the National Commission, above Rs. 1 crore.
        The three tier Consumer Courts have jurisdiction limited to the District (District Forum), the State (State Commission) and the Country (National Commission). 
        The Consumer Dispute case shall have to be filed in the appropriate body which has jurisdiction over the place where cause of action arose, partially (or) fully (or) where the opposite party normally resides (or) where the agent of the opposite party resides (or) where the branch of the opposite party is situated.
     Sample complaint petitions for defective good/deficient service 
please click here.

20. Can a Consumer Complainant be penalised by the Consumer Court ?

Yes. In case the District Forum/State Commission/National Commission comes to the conclusion that the complaint is frivolous or vexatious, it can award a cost not exceeding Rs.10,000/- which will be paid to the Opposite party.

21. Can public interest petition be filed under the Consumer Protection Act ?

Yes. A Consumer who is a part of the affected group, can file a petition on behalf of the entire group. This is also known as class action petition.

22. Can Commercial establishments seek redress before the Consumer Courts ?

Yes. They can approach the Consumer Courts for redressal of grievances pertaining to goods purchased or services availed as long as such goods/services are not for Commercial use.

23. Are Voluntary Consumer Organisation being supported by the Government for their day to day functioning ?

No. The VCOs do not get any assistance for their day-to-day functioning. But the Government of India through the Consumer Welfare Fund provides monetary assistance for specific projects which are undertaken for furtherance of Consumer Awareness, Consumer Education and Consumer Protection.

24. How do the Voluntary Consumer Organisations survive ? Who funds the VCOs ?

Overwhelming majority of the Voluntary Consumer Organisations do not have any steady income. They largely depend on the goodwill of the public and their contribution for their survival. The perennial shortage of funds is also a major reason for these VCOs not being able to function in a professional and effective manner.

25. What benefits will I get if I join a VCO ?

You may get certain benefits by joining a Voluntary Consumer Organisation, like informative magazines, handouts, invitation to attend educative lectures & seminars. But one should not think of direct monetary/quantifiable benefits alone. If you believe that your interests as a Consumer needs to be protected from vested interests and you also agree that as a individual you can not go far in safeguarding your legitimate rights, then you should not hesitate to join a VCO and to strengthen it in its endeavours.

     Read Advantage Consumer, monthly newsletter of Consumer Protection Council, Rourkela.

Consumer Protection Council, Rourkela