Table of Contents
- Consumer court jurisdiction
- What kind of complaints can you file with the consumer court?
- What is an unfair contract?
- Consumer forum complaint: Details to be provided against builder
- Things to do before you file a complaint against a builder in the consumer court
- How to file your complaint with consumer court?
- Consumer court fee to be paid to for filing complaint
- How to pay consumer court fee?
- What if you are not happy with the consumer commission’s order?
Home buyers in India have multiple platforms where they can register their complaints against developers, in case of any misdemeanour or offence. These include civil courts, consumer courts and the latest dedicated platform, the RERA. Even though the RERA is gaining popularity among home buyers to seek justice, since it became fully active in 2017, consumer courts continue to receive a large number of property-related cases, because of their wide popularity. In case you also have a grievance that you need to get addressed, here is your step-wise guide to lodge your complaint with the consumer court in India.
At the outset, it is important to understand that you have to follow a certain protocol to successfully lodge you complaint with a consumer court. Since consumer courts in India work on a three-tier system (district level, state level and national level), you have to approach the right authority to get your grievance addressed. You also must have you paperwork ready to initiate the process.
Consumer court jurisdiction
The first question is, where should you lodge your complaint since consumer courts have a three -tier system?
It all depends on the amount of money involved in the transaction. The consumer protection law establishes a pecuniary mechanism to divide the jurisdiction of these bodies.
District-level consumer courts: At the district-level commissions, a consumer can file complaints where the value involved is up to Rs 1 crore.
State-level consumer courts: A consumer can file complaints at the state-level commissions, where the value involved is between Rs 1 crore and Rs 10 crores.
National consumer court: At the nation-level commissions, a consumer can file complaints where the value involved is over Rs 10 crores.
What kind of complaints can you file with the consumer court?
You can lodge your complaint with the consumer court if you have been subjected to any of the following offences:
- Levying of hidden charge
- Poor quality work
- Delays in possession
- Project cancellation
- Illegal construction
- Forced possession
- Change in previously approved plan
- Booking-related fraud
- Unfair contract
What is an unfair contract?
The Consumer Protection Act 2019 describes when a builder-buyer agreement could be termed an unfair contract and defines it under Section 2(46). The law terms a contract that unduly favours the builder as an unfair contract. Mentioned below are the terms that can make a builder-buyer agreement an unfair contract:
Consumer forum complaint: Details to be provided against builder
Listed below are the details that a consumer has to provide, while filing a complaint, with the NCDRC or district or state-level consumer courts:
- Name of the consumer
- Address of the consumer
- Name of the builder
- Address of the builder
- Time, place and other facts relating your complaint with the builder
- Papers support your claims against the builder
Things to do before you file a complaint against a builder in the consumer court
As is true of any legal proceeding, you have to do some paperwork to prove that you have raised your issue with the builder and that he has shown unwillingness to address your grievance, for you to be able to make an appeal against him in the consumer court.
Send the builder a prior notice
This means you have to first send the builder a notice clearly stating the issue. You also have to provide the builder a fair time window to respond to your complaint. In case you find the builder has not been able to address your concern or he has completely ignored the issue, it would be time to get started with filing a complaint in the consumer court.
Draft the complaint
You now have to draft the complaint on a plain piece of paper under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. While you may choose to hire the services of a lawyer, it is perfectly okay if you proceed to do this all on your own.
How to file your complaint with consumer court?
A consumer can file his complaint in writing in an offline or online mode.
Consumer Court online complaint
To file the consumer forum complaint online, one can visit www.edaakhil.nic.in. If you are filing an online complaint with the consumer court, remember that you will have to first register yourself on the website to do so. Also using your login credentials, you can lodge multiple complaints.
Consumer court complaint offline
If you want to file your complaint with the consumer court offline, you can do so either independently or with the help of your lawyer. After putting your complaint in writing, mail it via registered post, along with the court fee. In this case, you will have to send three copies of your complaint to the court.
You can also lodge your complaint with the consumer court by calling the helpline number 1800-11-4000.
Consumer court fee to be paid to for filing complaint
When filing a complaint against a builder, a home buyer will have to submit the following fee, depending on the court where the case it being filed:
|Commission/value of offence||Fee|
|Up to Rs 5 lakhs||No fee|
|From Rs 5 lakhs to Rs 10 lakhs||Rs 200|
|From Rs 10 lakhs to Rs 20 lakhs||Rs 400|
|From Rs 20 lakhs to Rs 50 lakhs||Rs 1,000|
|From Rs 50 lakhs to Rs 1 crore||Rs 2,000|
|From Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crores||Rs 2,500|
|From Rs 2 crores to Rs 4 crores||Rs 3,000|
|From Rs 4 crores to Rs 6 crores||Rs 4,000|
|From Rs 6 crores to Rs 8 crores||Rs 5,000|
|From Rs 8 crores to Rs 10 crores||Rs 6,000|
|Over Rs 10 crores||Rs 7,500|
How to pay consumer court fee?
The fee to consumer courts have to be paid via demand draft.
What if you are not happy with the consumer commission’s order?
If you are not satisfied with the order of the district consumer court, you can file an appeal with the state consumer forum. Similarly, if you are not happy with the order of the state consumer court, you can appeal against its order at the NCDRC. This appeal against the higher commission must be made within 30 days from the date of the order. In case you are also not satisfied by the order of the NCDRC, you can move the Supreme Court within 45 days of the order by the national commission.
How to file a case in Consumer Court?
A consumer can file a complaint in the consumer court online, by visiting www.edaakhil.nic.in, or file the same offline by putting your complaint in writing and mailing it via registered post, along with the court fee.
What is NCDRC?
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission or NCDRC is the apex consumer forum in India.