When can a Consumer file a complaint?

Consumer can file a complaint

The time period for filing a complaint for a consumer from the date of violation of a right is 2 years. The law in this regard is laid down in Sec24-A of Consumer protection act of 1986

The Supreme Court however in this Landmark Judgement of National Insurance Company Ltd. Vs. Hindustan Safety Glass Works Ltd. has held that where a supplier is responsible for causing a delay in the settlement of the consumer’s claim, the consumer shall be entitled under law to file a complaint in the Consumer’s court even after the expiry of the period of two years.

 The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in this case, remarked that in a dispute concerning a consumer;

  • it is necessary for the courts to take a realistic view of the rights of the consumer principally since it is the consumer who is placed at a disadvantage in comparison to the supplier of services or goods.
  • It is to overcome this disadvantage that a law which is compassionate towards people in the form of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was passed by the Parliament.

Therefore, in the Judgement the Apex Court has upheld the spirit of the “Consumer Protection Act of 1986” under which the “protection of consumers” was the main objective and not let the technical provisions of limitation in the Act to be interpreted in the manner which puts consumer on the back foot and is to the disadvantage of a consumer, thereby depriving them of their rights.

The above Judgement of the Apex court comes as a major relief to the consumers whereby

  • The large corporations and companies will not be able to exploit the period of limitation to their advantage and the “Little man” will be able to assert his right without any inconvenience whatsoever.
  • Henceforth a Consumer can file a complaint even after two years (which is the limit according to the law) from the date on which his right was violated if the consumer can show that it was the service provider or the company that was responsible for the resulting delay.

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