Online Fraud. Stay Alert!

Be Alert! Online Fraud at an Increase

With Covid 19 online trading has seen a spike, and so has cases of fraud due to consumer negligence and ignorance.

With the continuation of Covid-19 lockdown, there is a huge surge in traffic for e-commerce and digital service providers in our day-to-day lives.

Consumption of essential goods and services are in continuous demand and certainly due to Coronavirus the existing status of trade and service provisions has shrunk the sphere and thus, e-commerce and digital service providers have occupied more space.

The reality is that Consumerism will continue and certainly, the traders/service providers will play as an opportunist. This also increases the risk of cybercrime.

If a consumer gets cheated by an unscrupulous trader/service provider, he/she must take shelter of the competent consumer court to safeguard himself and also to seek adequate compensation in lieu of any type of loss, harm, damage, personal injury, illness or death, mental agony or emotional distress caused.

The provisions of the Consumer Protection Act,1986 and Act, 2019 have empowered the competent Consumer Courts to deal with and safeguard the consumers from any kind of negligence, unfair/restrictive trade practice, defects, deficiency, misleading advertisement related to any product or service, spurious goods and services etc. dealt via online trading or digital service providers.

The provisions of the Consumer Protection Act are additional and not in derogation of the provisions of any other law from the time it is being enforced.

Stay safe during these times. For any support in the event of being cheated or being duped by a trader or a firm online, please log on to www.powertoconsumer.in for your complaint.

Law on Parking Spaces

In a 2010 judgment, Nahalchand Laloochand Pvt. Ltd. v. Panchali Co-operative Housing Society Ltd., the Hon’ble Supreme Court rejected the argument of a real estate development company that they are not entitled to sell garages or stilt parking areas as separate flats to owners who intend to use it as parking facilities. A bench of Justices A K Patnaik and R M Lodha, ruled that builders or promoters cannot sell parking areas as independent units or flats as these areas are to be extended as “common areas and facilities” for the owners. Also, the Court said that the developer is only entitled to charge price for the common areas and facilities from each flat purchaser in proportion to the carpet area of the flat.

Background – General Practice
As per the general practice in the market, the developer, by the agreement of sale, sells only the ‘flat’ and the purchaser has rights in respect of only the flat and no other portion of the building. This is exactly what had been agreed to between the developer Nahalchand Laloochand Private Limited and the flat purchasers of Panchali Co-operative Housing Society Ltd.Each flat purchaser had executed a declaration to the effect that stilt parking spaces/open parking spaces shown in the plan exclusively belong to the promoter and that the Society had no objection to the sale of such spaces. However, this was later argued by the Society as being contrary to law. When the dispute arose, the developer approached the Bombay Civil Court seeking “permanent injunction restraining the Society from encroaching upon, trespassing and/or in any manner disturbing, obstructing or interfering with its possession in respect of 25 parking spaces in the stilt portion of the building”.

The City Civil Court dismissed the suit. The developer preferred first appeal before the High Court which was also dismissed. The Developer then filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.

What is a Flat?

The Court examined the provisions of Maharashtra Ownership Flats (Regulation of the Promotion of Construction, Sale, Management and Transfer) Act, 1963 (“MOFA”) to determine whether open or stilt parking spaces can be sold to purchasers separately, because the answer to the question would lie in the basic interpretation of what is a Flat. As per Section 2(a-1) of MOFA, “Flat” is defined to mean a separate and self-contained set of premises used or intended to be used for residence, or office, show-room or shop or go down or for carrying on any industry or business and includes a garage. the premises forming part of a building is included in an apartment.

Apart from the statutory definition, a Flat means a set of rooms comprising an individual place of residence within a larger building or a self-contained set of rooms, structurally divided and separately owned or let from the rest of a building, which for the most part consists of other flats separated in like manner.

Therefore, for a `Flat’ to be within the meaning of the definition in Sec. 2 (a-1), it must be a separate unit conforming to the description capable of being used for one of the purposes given in the definition. Separateness of one premises from another premises physically and also in use or intended use for one of the uses specified in the definition clause containing the necessary facilities for self-contained accommodation is sine qua non for a unit being covered by the definition of `Flat’ occurring in Section 2(a-1).

Also, the Court has categorically stated that the meaning and significance of the bracketed portion “(and includes a garage)” should be seen in the context given to the word `Flat’ which is a true indication of intent of the legislature. The phrase `and includes a garage’ in the bracket does not bring in `garage’ by itself within the meaning of word `Flat’.

If a standalone `garage’ was intended by the legislature to be a `Flat’ as per the meaning of Section 2(a-1), that could have been conveyed by use of the expression `or garage’ after the word `business’ in the same breath as preceding uses. The bracketed phrase is indicative of the legislative intention to include a `garage’ as an attachment to a flat which satisfies the contents of Section 2(a-1).

If a stilt parking area is a garage?It had to be determined whether a stilt parking area would be counted as a garage. The definition of a garage is not provided in the MOFA. Hence, English language definitions needed to be looked into. The Oxford English Dictionary explains `garage’ as a building for housing a motor vehicle or vehicles or an establishment which sells fuel or which repairs and sells motor vehicles. The Webster Comprehensive Dictionary explains the word `garage’ as a building in which motor vehicles are stored and cared for.

The Development Control Regulations for Greater Bombay, 1991 define two expressions, `garage-private’ and `garage-public’ in Regulations 2(47) and 2(48) respectively. According to these Regulations, `garage-private’ means a building or a portion thereof designed and used for the parking of vehicles and `garage-public’ means a building or portion thereof designed other than as a private garage, operated for gain, designed and/or used for repairing, serving, hiring, selling or storing or parking motor-driven or other vehicles.

The developer had argued that open parking space amounts to a `garage’ within the meaning of Section 2(a-1). However, the Court disagreed with this argument and said that a person buying a flat for residence or one of the uses mentioned in Section 2(a-1) will not really think that open to the sky or open space for parking motor vehicles is a garage. “The word `garage’ may not have uniform connotation but definitely every space for parking motor vehicles is not a garage. A roofless erection could not be described as a garage. What is contemplated by a `garage’ in Section 2(a-1) is a place having a roof and walls on three sides. It does not include an unenclosed or uncovered parking space.”

Hence, the Court stated that while stilt area may be usable as a parking space but for the purposes of MOFA, such portion could not be treated as garage. For the purposes of MOFA, the term `garage’ must be considered as would be understood by a flat purchaser and such person would contemplate garage which has a roof and wall on three sides.

Whether stilt parking spaces are part of common areas and facilities?

The MOFA does not define common areas and facilities. However, the Maharashtra Apartment Ownership Act, 1970 does define `common areas and facilities’ in Section 3(f). The Court, while referring to it, said that just like it is unreasonable that a developer cannot take common passage/lobbies or staircases out of the purview of `common areas and facilities’, it is unreasonable to say that parking spaces do not fall under `common areas and facilities’. It is not necessary that all flat purchasers must actually use `common areas and facilities’ in its entirety. The relevant test is whether such part of the building is normally in common use.

Therefore, it was held that MOFA mandates the promoter to describe common areas and facilities in the advertisement as well as the `agreement’ with the flat purchaser and if a promoter does not fully disclose the common areas and facilities, he does so at his own peril. Stilt parking spaces would not cease to be part of common areas and facilities merely because the promoter has not described the same as such in the advertisement and agreement with the flat purchaser.

Also, expressly stating the rights of the developer/promoter, the court said that, “so far as the promoter is concerned, he is not put to any prejudice financially by treating open parking space/stilt parking space as part of `common areas’ since he is entitled to charge price for the common areas and facilities from each flat purchaser in proportion to the carpet area of the flat.” MOFA mandates the promoter to describe `common areas and facilities’ in the advertisement as well as the `agreement’ with the flat purchaser and the promoter is also required to indicate the price of the flat including the proportionate price of the `common areas and facilities’.

Conclusion

Hence, `stilt parking space’ is not covered by the term `garage’ much less a `flat’ and it is part of common areas. The court said that stilt parking space/s being part of common areas, the only right that the promoter has is to charge the cost thereof in proportion to the carpet area of the flat from each flat purchaser. Such stilt parking space being neither a `flat’ nor a `garage’ within the meaning of under Section 2(a-1) of MOFA, cannot be sold separately.

In the words of the Court : “The promoter has no right to sell any portion of such building which is not ‘flat’ within the meaning of Section 2(a-1) and the entire land and building has to be conveyed to the organisation; the only right remains with the promoter is to sell unsold flats. It is, thus, clear that the promoter has no right to sell ‘stilt parking spaces’ as these are neither ‘flat’ nor attachment to a ‘flat’.

Critic:

First and foremost, the judgment has been given in the context of the laws in Maharashtra. The universal applicability of this judgement would come into question if there are different laws in a particular state. For instance, the judgment can be applied to the NCT of Delhi in view of the Delhi Apartment Ownership Act, 1986 but it is uncertain whether it would also apply to the state of Rajasthan, which has no such laws.

Secondly, it is contemplated that the developers/promoters/builders would now increase the cost of the flats to compensate for the loss that they would suffer by not being able to sell these parking spaces separately. The financial burden on the purchasers would either increase or remain the same, but will not decrease. The Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (CREDAI), Pune branch, said though SC has made it categorically clear that “stilt parking/open parking” cannot be sold as it does not fall under the definition of ‘flat’ or ‘garage’, it has also stated that the builder can charge for stilt parking/open parking under common area and facilities separately.

Thirdly, the entire ruling is based upon the meaning of the word ‘garage’. According to the Hon’ble S.C., the area closed by three sides and above used for parking is a garage. This logic puts stilt area enclosed by less than three sides or not at all enclosed in a different footing than the area covered by three sides.

However, the positive point is that the developers/promoters/builders cannot retain or sell such parking spaces separately since they are included in the common areas. Parking cannot be given or charged from persons who have not bought a flat in the premises. The purchasers would be able to enjoy the same by paying only an amount proportionate to the carpet area of the flat.

insurance provider

LIC is a Social Welfare Institution

LIC penalized for dealing Insurance claim in a standard way

As per the law, Life Insurance Corporation of India is not a Private Company but a nationalized Corporation established as a social welfare institution. Apart from terms and conditions, the management of LIC should be prompt, efficient and in favor of the requirement of people.

Before rejecting any insurance claim, the management of LIC of India should bear in mind that it is easy to find out technical objections in any contract. However, endeavor of such social welfare institution should be to find out ways and means to do justice to the insured or his family members on the ground of social welfare.

In one of the cases, LIC of India vs Anuradha, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India decided:

The Life Insurance Corporation is a social welfare institution, more so when it has been nationalized and the service  is not available in the private sector,  should think of devising a policy available in insurgency-afflicted regions which would take care of the insured and his family members in such areas. The insurance policies with terms and conditions suited to the requirements of people inhabiting insurgency – or militancy-affected areas need to be devised and propagated.

Similarly in another case LIC of India Vs. Smt. Asha Goel the Court observed and decided:

In course of time the Corporation has grown in size and at present it is one of the largest public sector financial undertaking. The public in general and millions of policyholders particularly look forward to prompt and efficient service from the organization. Therefore, the authorities should keep the credibility and reputation in mind, which depends on its prompt and efficient services. Therefore, the approach of the Corporation in such matters should be handled with extreme care.

An exemplary example of Moga (Punjab) has been quoted here, in which LIC, India rejected an Insurance Claim.

Mr. Ishwar Chand purchased a policy for himself. He paid the premium and got the receipt from LIC. Unfortunately, Mr. Chand passed away on 1st March,1998 in an accident. His wife filed the Insurance Claim.

Her claim was rejected because the Insurance Policy was not made effective and Mr. Chand passed away before the acceptance of proposal date hence his wife who was the Beneficiary – Consumer approached the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Moga (Punjab), by filing a Consumer Case.

Her complain was honored and the LIC had to pay her due amount along with the interest @10% per annum from the date Mr. Ishwar Chand’s demise. LIC also had to pay her a compensation of Rs.10,000 for harassment and Rs.2,000 for additional costs.

Further to that, LIC made an appeal before the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Punjab for the following points:

(i) As the proposal submitted by the deceased was not concluded till 1st March, 1998, i.e. on the date of the death of the insured, it cannot be held that the contract between the parties was concluded; and

(ii) The deceased did not disclose that he was a patient of diabetes and that he died due to ailment and not by accident.

Both these contentions were rejected by the Punjab State Commission. The State Commission observed that the proposal was accepted and the insurance policy was issued much before the death of the insured. Therefore, the contract was concluded and LIC had to complete the formalities within a reasonable time. With regards to the second contention, it was observed that there was no evidence on record that Mr. Chand died due to diabetes or natural death and not because of any accident.

The Hon’ble State Commission, Punjab dismissed the Appeal of LIC of India and denied their interference in the order, passed by the District Forum, Moga (Punjab).

The LIC of India again filed a Revision Petition before Hon’ble National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi.

The Hon’ble National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi again dismissed the revised petition after going through the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.

Also, LIC of India was considered inefficient in their services and NCDRC penalized the organization an additional cost of Rs.10,000 payable to the wife of insured.

Let us all be empowered with our Consumer Rights like Mrs. Chand who was aware of her consumer rights.

Have you been a victim or suffered due to inefficient services of Life Insurance Corporation of India? Let us know. Pose your complaint on our Power to Consumer website today and help us spread the word.

coaching class refund

Refund for Coaching Classes

It is noticed that students of Class X onwards are encouraged to compete IIT-JEE (Advanced), etc. and as such they become aspiring students to compete these Entrance Examinations they get inclined towards joining certain coaching institutes for preparation of their competitive exams. At this juncture, both the students and parents both get attracted to some premium coaching institutes. These institutes charge the coaching fees in advance for the entire course. For the admission purpose, the parents do not get a chance to negotiate on the prescribed fees and the mode of payment.

Since the students have to pay the full amount of fees during the admission, they feel trapped in case they don’t feel comfortable or happy with the teaching methods or teacher’s attitude/behavior after sometime. Some students quit in the middle of the course and their proportionate fees do not get refunded due to certain terms and conditions they would have signed during the admission process.

As per the law of Hon’ble National Commission, the claimants definitely are entitled for a refund of their fees. If the refund is denied by the institute, it would be termed as an ‘Unfair Trade Practice’ and this has to be certainly stopped by exercising a moral responsibility. There have been several cases noted recently. The Chandigarh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has also disposed off three such cases ordering the institutes to refund the fees to the claimants.

If you are facing any similar issue with your coaching institute, please feel free to contact us on Power to Consumer for seeking any help or guidance.

Photo by Igor Rodrigues on Unsplash

rights as a railway consumer

Rights as a Railway Service consumer.

The Hon’ble National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi has observed in and said – “In our view, after purchasing a railway ticket, a passenger would be a consumer as he avails the services of the Railways, including the use of platform, foot path, over bridges for ingress to and egress from train and, if there is any deficiency in services which causes injury, then such a person is entitled to file a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.”

The major that came out from the previously mentioned Revision Petition in front of the Hon’ble NCDRC was – If a passenger after de-boarding the train, while passing over the railway foot-over-bridge (FOB) is injured because of the collapse of the bridge, is he entitled to file a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986?

Facts of the Case :-

In one of the case, a couple met with an accident in the year 1992 when they were returning home from Ghatkopar to Jogeshwari via Dadar by train. After getting down from the train at Jogeshwari Station, at about 8.30 PM, when they were passing over the Railway foot over bridge to reach Jogeshwari (East), suddenly one slab of the bridge collapsed. As a result, the couple, along with several other passengers, fell on the railway track resulting in severe injuries. At the point of time, it was raining heavily which made the matter worse and some passengers even died due to this collapse.

The couple were admitted in the Cooper Hospital in an unconscious condition and unfortunately the lady also got robbed before getting admitted into the hospital. She was under treatment for a couple of months and thereafter, was shifted to Nanavati Hospital.

She was an MTNL employee and was not able to make it to work due to hospitalization and was required to take medical leave for the period. Due to this incidence, unfortunately she became handicapped and disabled and it was also certified by the Medical Officer, Cooper Hospital, Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay that she suffered with multiple injuries.

Due to this incidence the injured lady approached the District Forum, Mumbai Suburban District, by filing a complaint and the complaint got dismissed on the basis of opinion of the  majority. However, one Member passed a specific order that the complainant was entitled to receive a compensation of Rs.2,50,000/- with interest at the rate of 9% p.a. from the date of the accident till realization, along with Rs.3000/- as additional cost. There was also an appeal made in the State Commission, Maharashtra which also got dismissed solely on the ground of jurisdiction bar by referring to Section 124A of the Railways Act, 1989 and Sections 13(1)(a) and 15 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987.

After elaborate discussion, the Hon’ble NCDRC passed a notice to review the case. Undisputedly, that FOB is a part of the railway premise and is needs to be maintained well to avoid inconvenience to the passengers. It was also found later, the Railway property was not well maintained and negligence was the only cause for the collapse of the foot over bridge.

As per the Hon’ble Supreme court the NCDRC in this case, it is the responsibility of Railway to maintain platforms, footpaths, over bridges for ingress and egress of the passengers and all other passenger facilities and amenities and passengers are contributing towards it via purchasing journey tickets or platform tickets.

Further, NCDRC said – In our view, a railway passenger, who purchases a Railway ticket for traveling, would undoubtedly be a consumer as he pays for availing the services. For boarding and deboarding the train, the passengers are required to pass through the railway premises, i.e., the railway platform, over bridge, etc. In such circumstances, the facilities needs to be well maintained for giving a comfortable experience to the passengers.

The State Commission must not dismiss these cases and review its decisions. In this case, a compensation of Rs.2,50,000/- with interest of 9% p.a. from the date of the accident, i.e., 28.9.1992 till the date of realization, along with costs quantified at Rs.3,000/- was paid to the injured couple.

Photo by Atharva Tulsi on Unsplash

cheated by insurance provider

Your Bank’s Deposit is Insured to the tune of Rs.1,00,000/- by DICC

As per the law, all the banks in our country are registered with the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC), a subsidiary of Reserve Bank of India. It was established in 1961 under Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act, 1961 for the purpose of providing insurance of deposits and guaranteeing of credit facilities. DICGC insures all bank deposits, such as savings, fixed, current, recurring deposits for up to a limit of INR 1,00,000/- of deposit in each bank.

The functions of the DICGC are governed by the provisions of ‘The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act, 1961’ (DICGC Act) and ‘The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation General Regulations, 1961’ framed by the Reserve Bank of India to exercise the power conferred by sub-section (3) of Section 50 of the Act. All commercial banks including branches of foreign banks functioning in India, local area banks and regional rural banks are insured by the DICGC.

Besides commercial banks, all the cooperative Banks of States, Central and Primary cooperative banks, are also called urban cooperative banks. They function in States/Union Territories which have amended the local Cooperative Societies Act. This empowers the Reserve Bank of India to order the Registrar of Cooperative Societies of the State/Union Territory to shut the operations of a cooperative bank. It can also supersede the management  committee asking the Registrar not to take any action regarding closure, amalgamation or reconstruction of a co-operative bank without prior approval in writing from RBI. At present all co-operative banks other than those from the State of Meghalaya and the Union Territories of Chandigarh, Lakshadweep and Dadra and Nagar Haveli are covered by the DICGC. Primary cooperative societies are not insured by the DICGC.

Insurance coverage: Earlier as per the provisions of Section 16(1) of the DICGC Act, the insurance cover was limited to INR 1500 for each person in the same capacity for all the branches a particular bank. However, the Act also empowers the Corporation to raise this limit with the prior approval of the Central Government. Accordingly, the insurance limit was enhanced from time to time. With effect from 1 May 1993, the limit has been extended of INR100000.

In the event of winding up or liquidation of an insured bank, every depositor of the bank is entitled to receive amount equal to his deposits in all the branches of that bank put together, standing as on the date of cancellation of registration (i.e. the date of cancellation of license or order of winding up or for liquidation) subject to the settlement off of his dues to the bank, if any (Section 16(1) and (3) of the DICGC Act). However, the payment to each depositor is subject to the limit of the insurance coverage fixed from time to time.

Under the provisions of Section 17(1) of the DICGC Act, the liquidating bank has to submit a list of people with the amount of their deposit to DICGC within three months. If the bank is merging with another bank, a similar list has to be submitted by the Chief Executive Officer of the Acquiring Bank within three months as per Section 18(1) of the DICGC Act.

The DICGC is required to pay back the deposits to each depositor within two months from when it receives the list of depositors. The time limit is however subject to all the information/documents being in order as required by the Corporation. For further details with regard to DICGC, readers may refer here.

The Vasantdada Shetkari Sahkari Bank, Maharashtra was ordered to shut down  because its banking license was cancelled by the Reserve Bank of India. There were several credit society’s depositors with over Rs.20 crore deposits filed their petitions before Hon’ble Bombay High Court for realization of their deposits.

A division bench of the Court, comprising Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Mahesh Sonak, while dismissing all petitions filed by credit societies exercised the rule of Rs.1 lakh which states – If a bank goes bust, its depositors will get up to maximum of Rs.1 lakh from the banking insurance system. The court further said that when a bank is ordered for closure, the Insurance indemnity scheme kicks in all depositors who have deposits of less than Rs.1 lakh and they are given the exact amount of their deposits, while all depositors who have more than Rs.1 lakh deposit will not get anything more than the limit.

If you are a depositor and need any help to get your deposit back within the limit of 1 lakh from the Banking Insurance Company, you may connect with our Award Winning Consumer Rights Adviser for free at www.powertoconsumer.in

doctors - service - providers

Allegation of Medical Negligence and your Rights.

The Hon’ble Apex Court and National Commission has laid out several guidelines with regard to the duty & obligation of medical practitioner towards the patients. The law requires fair and logical reasons to hold a medical practitioner responsible for mishandling a case.

To prove medical negligence, law requires expert’s opinion or any written guidelines on medical science to validate the processes. Since any allegation based on assumption can affect a medical practitioner’s career, the responsibility lies upon the complainant to prove the facts of any kind of negligence or incorrect treatment.

Consumer cases with allegations of medical negligence in absence of the evidence from the expert (s) can be dismissed by the Consumer Court.

If you or anyone you know is a victim of medical negligence, please reach out to us. We are here to support you in your cause. Connect with our Award Winning consumer rights adviser for free at www.powertoconsumer.in

adulteratedGoods

Spurious and Adulterated Goods – Your Rights as a Consumer

Sometimes we come across adulterated food items causing serious health issues and ailments and even death in some cases. We hardly want to take up the matter against the manufacturers/trader in the Court.

But do you know that as a consumer you are entitled to sue the manufacturer/trader in a Consumer Court seeking compensation for the incurred losses as well take the matter even to the Criminal Court.

In my experience so far, I have been approached by a couple of consumers. The first one had  purchased one of the most popular soft drink which had clearly visible dust particles. Upon further analysis done by the Public Analyst the item was declared as adulterated. The second case, in which the consumer had purchased a bottle of refined oil containing a dead lizard in it and hence was considered unfit for consumption.

This analysis was done on the advise of the Criminal Court and the Consumer Court and I had the opportunity to represent both the cases in these two Courts.

We must be aware about the laws and the next steps to take shelter against such manufacturers/traders besides seeking any Compensation in lieu of incurred losses. As per the law, the faulty manufacturers/traders can be subjected to penalizing/punishment/sentence to imprisonment, life imprisonment or even sentence to death.

We at Power to Consumer  feel it is our responsibility to spread awareness that the Consumers are empowered with the provisions of the Consumer Protection act, 1986 (also known as  COPRA). Under this act, the Consumers can be compensated adequately against their losses/injuries caused due to use of such spurious and adulterated food items. Not only this, the manufacturers/traders can be subjected to heavy punishment by the Criminal Court on the basis Consumer Court’s findings.

It also opens the door to look into the matter whether the Manufacturers/Traders have committed offence under the provision of Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 for causing any loss  due to consumption of adulterated food.

The food item is analysed by the Public Analyst to find if its adulterated or not under the jurisdiction u/s 13 (1) (c) of COPRA to send such goods for its Analysis by the Public Analyst. They are vested for the purpose under Section 12 of the Prevention of Food adulteration act, 1954.

Although the Consumer Court of India is responsible for hearing all matters within the scope of Consumer Law, but the analysis and judicial review of the adulteration of ingredients is very well within the jurisdiction of the Consumer Courts.

The consumer can file a complaint under Sec. 12 of COPRA seeking adequate compensation in lieu of incurred loss. The allegations against the manufacturer/trader has to be framed under COPRA. As per the Report of the Public Analyst, one can sue the manufacturer/trader in a competent criminal court demanding punishment for them under provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.

Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

compensation

Quantum of Compensation by a Consumer Court

Under section 14 (1) (d) of the C.P.Act, 1986: ‘Compensation’ means anything given as recovery . In ordinary words, ‘Compensation’ means anything given that is equivalent to any loss, payment, remuneration, etc. It also refers to damages.

While quantifying damages, consumer courts are required to make attempt to compensate the victim and the calculation of damage depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. No universal law is applicable as it varies from case to case basis.

A Consumer court has to take into account all relevant factors and decide the compensation on the basis of accepted legal principles, on moderation. Besides that, interests can also be awarded on equitable grounds in some cases.

As established by the Hon’ble Supreme Court under Clause (d) of Sec. 14 (1) of the C.P.Act, 1986, Compensation can be awarded to a consumer only in respect of loss or injury suffered by the consumer due to negligence of the opposite party.

The Hon’ble National Commission decided that compensation should be given on the basis of material on record and there must be a rational relation to the nature and extent of injury, physical and mental inconvenience caused to the complainant by any action or omission of the Opposite Party.

If you are suffering with any issues with any related matter, please feel free to reach out to contact us by lodging a complaint with our award winning Legal Adviser at www.powertoconsumer.in. You must bring all the relevant details/documents of your case to prove – negligence, action or omission of the other party because of which you are suffering and that would have caused any losses/injury/inconvenience (physical and/or mental) to the extent of being compensated adequately.

Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash

mis-selling insurance

Insurance Policy Mis-selling

Quite often, we purchase Insurance Policies and become an easy prey of Financial Advisors/Agents who want to achieve their sales target. There is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest insurance policies are often mis-sold inspite of the guidelines laid by the IRDA Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority (IRDA) to reform and control the menace.

In order to prevent mis-selling of insurance policies through distance marketing and to protect consumer interest, the Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority (IRDA) has brought some guidelines on distance marketing of Insurance Products into effect from October 1, 2011. Click here to view the details of the guidelines.

Further, as per IRDA you can file a complaint online if you are cheated by any Insurance Agent/Financial Advisor. You can visit the IRDA website: www.irda.gov.in click on ‘online registration of policyholder complaints’ link on the right hand side. You will be redirected to IGMS or Integrated Grievance Management System to register your complaint.

As consumers of Insurance Policy we may also protect ourselves from  such sales policies by carefully following five precautionary measures:

  • Hear the opening pitch
  • See standard illustration
  • Fill the relevant Proposal Form yourself
  • Check the Product name
  • Wait for Insurer to call you

You are also entitled to take shelter of Consumer Courts for redressal of your grievances if you are facing any issues because of the Insurance Policies purchased by you. In such cases, the Hon’ble National Commission has declared ‘Merely issuing a cover note on the policy doesn’t absolve the Insurance Company of its responsibilities. They need to ensure that the policy, terms and conditions are clearly communicated to the insured, and any special conditions or warranties are clear and free of ambiguous words.  Ambiguity in the terms of the policy will be against the insurer since it drafts to the policy wording.’

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash