Here's How You Can File A Complaint In Consumer Court
The Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) is aimed at bringing transparency which the Indian realty sector was lacking until now. It clearly aims to end the woes of homebuyers as there are provisions under RERA that enables aggrieved buyers to lodge a formal complaint against developers, and receive prompt action, or compensation if applicable.
Sometimes things may go wrong during property purchase if a developer flouts the rules or makes false promises leaving homebuyers in a quandary to encounter issues like project delays, poor quality construction, property frauds or defaults on agreement.
Besides RERA, consumer courts or consumer forums are also authorised to redress buyers’ grievances and have started accepting real estate cases where the purchase is even less than Rs 1 crore. Moreover, a buyer can file a complaint without a lawyer. The Consumer Protection Act, 1986, which defines a consumer as any person who hires services or goods, protects the interests of consumers, by addressing any matter including real estate projects. The property should be for the consumer’s own residential use and not for any commercial purpose.
MakaaniQ tells you the procedure involved for filing a case in consumer court:
Step 1: Send a notice
Firstly, before approaching the consumer court for filing a formal complaint, a buyer should give a notice to the developer. It is necessary to send a notice to the opposite party regarding deficiency in service availed or of unfair practice. This is to understand if they are willing to offer compensation (or refund of the purchase) for the loss suffered by the consumer. In case the developer refuses or neglects the notice, the buyer can proceed towards filing a case.
Step 2: Draft your complaint
The next step is submitting a formal complaint under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. A buyer can do so without the help of a lawyer. A complaint form, stating all the facts necessary to establish a cause of action, must be filled and submitted it to the commission.
A consumer must file the complaint in the district forum which has under its jurisdiction the other party's residence or office of profit or the area where the project is located.
*The details of the complainant and the opposite party should be mentioned on a plain paper.
*Additionally, compensation costs and the relief sought should be specifically stated in the complaint.
*The complainant has to put his or her signatures at the end of the complaint.
*If another person is filing a case on behalf of the aggrieved consumer, then an authorisation letter must be produced.
The buyer should submit an affidavit stating that the contents of the complaint are true and also provide copies of all documents supporting the complaint.
Note: Grieved consumers can also access the website of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs - www.consumerhelpline.gov.in - for filing a complaint online. A buyer can also reach on the Consumer Helpline number: 1800-11-4000 in case of any confusion or for filing a complaint on call.
Consumer grievance redressal forums also provide advice for filing and forming petition at nominal charges. The International Consumer Rights Protection Council is a registered non-governmental organisation that helps cheated consumers in filing such complaints.
The types of default a buyer can complain is given below:
*Construction without approvals
*Construction on illegally acquired land
*Fraud in booking
*Change of land use, layout plan, structures with the approval of allottee
*Enhanced external development charges
*Cancellation of the project
*Forfeiture of the amount
*Delay in delivering possession
*Creation of third-party interest
*Not providing a completion certificate
Step 3: Pay a fee
The complainant is required to submit a fee through a demand draft. The consumer forum follows difference jurisdiction to entertain the complaint. If the claim is:
*Less than Rs 20 lakh, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum will hear the plea.
*More than Rs 20 lakh but less than Rs 1 crore, then the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission will entertain the complaint
*More than Rs 1 crore, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) will attend to the plea.
The fee details are given below:
*Up to Rs 1 lakh: Rs 100
*Between Rs 1-5 lakh: Rs 200
*Between Rs 5-10 lakh: Rs 400
*Above Rs 10 lakh and up to Rs 20 lakh: Rs 500
*Above Rs 20 lakh but less than Rs 50 lakh: Rs 2,000
*Above Rs 50 lakh and up to Rs 1 crore: Rs 4,000
*Standard amount of Rs 5,000