Consumer Complaint Forums

Last updated on Jun 7, 2022

The consumer protection law specifies relevant authorities and complaint forums(( Chapter IV, Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)) that a consumer can approach if their rights(( Section 2(9), Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)) as a consumer are violated. There are three Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions, at the district(( Section 28, Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)), state(( Section 42, Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)), and national level(( Section 53, Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)). All these forums have the duty to hear the concern of a consumer and ensure that every concern is given due importance(( Section 2(9)(iv), Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)). The jurisdiction of these Commissions is based on:

  1. The value (price) of the goods or services availed
  2. The place of residence of the consumer or seller, or the workplace of one of the parties, or where the dispute began
  3. The place where the person filing the complaint(( Section 2(5), Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)) resides

Complaints must be filed within 2 years since the dispute arose, to be admitted for a hearing at the Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions(( Section 69(1), Consumer Protection Act, 2019)). The Complaint Redressal Commissions that can be approached for consumer rights violations and the type of matters adjudicated by them are as follows:

District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (DCDRC)

The District Commission is a district-level complaint redressal forum that looks into complaints about goods whose value is below Rupees one crore(( Section 35(1)(a)(i), Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)). The Commission accepts or rejects a complaint within a period of 21 days. If the commission does not respond in the specified time, the complaint will be accepted and looked into by the District Commissions(( Section 36(2), Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)). Before rejecting a complaint, the commission must give the complainant the opportunity to be heard. The Commission has the power to order for the removal of any problems or defects from the goods or services availed, or it can order a payment of fine(( Section 39, Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)) as a relief to the complainant. The parties to a case also have the option to file an appeal against the order of the District Commission to the State Commission within 45 days of the District Commission order(( Section 41, Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)). You can find details of the district commissions given in the National Consumer Redressal website.

State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC)

The State Commission is a state-level complaint redressal forum located at the capital(( Section 42(2), Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)) of the respective state where complaints with respect to goods having value between Rupees 1 crore to 10 crores can be filed. There are about 35 state commissions in the country where complaints, appeals from the District Commission, and cases about unfair contracts are heard(( Section 47(1), Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)). An appeal against the decision of the State Commission can be filed with the National Commission, within 30 days from the date of the order(( Section 51, Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)). Once such an appeal is filed, it is required to be decided within 90 days by the National Commission(( Section 52, Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)).

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): 

The National Commission is the upper-most authority for consumer complaints redressals. It is located at New Delhi(( Section 53(2), Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)). Complaints about goods or services whose value is above Rupees 10 crores, and appeals against the orders of the State Commission or the Central Consumer Protection Authority, can be filed with the NCDRC(( Section 58(1), Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)). An appeal against the decision of the National Commission can be filed with the Supreme Court within a period of 30 days from the date of the order passed(( Section 67, Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)). The orders of the Commission are published on its website. The Commission has the legal right to publish the orders and no proceedings can be brought against the Commission for publishing these orders(( Rule 12(8), Consumer Protection (Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission) Rules, 2020.)). The National Commission portal also provides video instructions pertaining to registration and filing of an electronic complaint through its forum.

Time for deciding complaints

A consumer complaint must be decided by the Commissions within a period of 3 months. This may be extended to 5 months in case there is a requirement for testing of the products/defects(( Section 38(7), Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)).

Appeals for orders passed by Commissions

The order passed by the Commissions are final if they have not been appealed in the specified period of time(( Section 68, Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)). This rule has exceptions, as the Commission can accept cases for which appeals were not filed in the prescribed time.  Besides these provisions, the cases can be transferred from one district commission to another and from one State Commission to another by the State1 and National Commissions(( Section 62, Consumer Protection Act, 2019.)) respectively, if and when the parties apply.

A consumer who has filed a complaint with any of the forums given above, can track their case through the Online Case Status portal. You can ask your lawyer for details of your case number for tracking the case(( Rule 7(2), Consumer Protection (Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions) Rules, 2020.)).


  1. Section 48, Consumer Protection Act, 2019. []

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