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The Consumer Protection Act, of 2019 was enacted to protect the interest of consumers and effectively resolve disputes. India has billions of consumers across markets ranging from small necessities like food and beverages to luxury products.

There are various consumer forums where consumers can file insurance complaints against sellers or service providers. A complaint is filed when a lawyer has served a legal notice to the vendor or service provider and still, they have not resolved the issue.

In the customer service field, dealing with angry customers is inevitable, but it is not the end of the world. When done well, helping customers solve their problems can be very satisfying and loyalty-building.

Eligibility for Filing Consumer Complaints

As per Section 2(5) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, “complainant” means:

(i) Consumer

As per Section 2(7) of the 2019 Act, a consumer is a person who purchases goods or avails of services for financial consideration, excluding any customer who has acquired goods or services for resale or commercial use. According to the definition, the expressions "purchases any goods" and "enjoys any services" include online transactions through digital communication, as well as direct selling, teleshopping, and multi-level advertising. Online transactions are a specific feature of this Act that was added in response to the growing e-commerce industry and technological advancements. The state or Central Govt is also eligible for filing a consumer complaint.

(ii) Voluntary Consumer Association

VCA shall be registered under the provisions of the Companies Act 2013 or 1956 or any other law for the time being relevant.

(iii) The Central Government or any State Government

The Central Government or the State Government can file a complaint in the interest of consumers.

(iv) The Central Authority

As per Section 2(4) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, the Central Authority means the Central Consumer Protection Authority established under section 10 of the said Act.

(v) A Customers Group of Similar Interests

A group of people who have the same grievance against a particular seller or service provider can file a joint complaint. It should be noted that consumer complaints cannot be filed on behalf of persons who are unknown consumers or by associations not registered under the Companies Act or relevant laws.

(vi) Legal heir or legal representative of the deceased customer

In case of the death of the consumer, his legal heir or representative on behalf of the deceased has the right to file the consumer complaint. Legal heirs of the deceased too would be made beneficiaries in case the complaint succeeds .

(vii) Parents or legal guardians of a minor

If a parent or legal guardian believes that their minor child has been the victim of unfair or deceptive business practices, they can file a complaint with the appropriate consumer forum under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

Grounds for Making a Complaint

It should be noted that parties who can file a complaint in a consumer court are eligible to do so when a 'statutory notice' has already been issued to the accused party to allow them to compensate the victim's party, either by replacement or return of value. After serving such legal notice, if the accused party still does not agree to pay compensation, the customer can file a complaint when the customer is dissatisfied;

It is pertinent to note that the complainant is eligible to file a complaint in a consumer court only when a ‘statutory notice’ has been served to the opposite party for adequate compensation, either by replacement or return of value. After the service of such legal notice, the complainant can file a complaint to the appropriate consumer forum.

The following are the grounds for complaint:

  • Unfair trade practices
  • Merchant's practice of restraining trade.
  • Defective products
  • Service is found to be deficient
  • The seller bills the customer more than the net price for the goods or services prescribed by the Government.
  • Goods prove to be dangerous to the life and safety of the buyer.
  • Goods are sold to the public on a large scale and are against the law.
  • The seller fails to display information about the material, method, and effect of the use of the goods sold.
  • Misleading advertisements

Mansee Online
Expertise in Private Limited


Mansee Online

Expertise in Private Limited Company


Process of Filing a Consumer Complaint

Following is the procedure for filing a consumer complaint:

Step 1: Legal Notice

Before filing a formal complaint in court, the first step in any type of consumer dispute is to send a legal notice to the accused party. Each aggrieved party must send a legal notice to the accused person regarding defects in services and/or unethical business practices like selling defective goods and products etc.

If the defendant does not respond to the legal notice within 30 days, or the victim neglects or refuses to act on the conditions imposed in the notice, the victim has full rights to seek redress through the appropriate consumer commission or court.

Step 2: Appropriate jurisdiction of Consumer Forum

When the accused fails to respond to the legal notice, the consumer must first determine the right of the forum where the complaint must be submitted. The complainant must consider both the economic and territorial jurisdiction of the tribunal. Financial Jurisdiction of District, State and National Commission Rs. is up to 10 million, Rs. 10 million to Rs. 100 million and above Rs. 100 million respectively.

Territorial jurisdiction must be sought at the territorial limits of the district, state, or national commission within whose jurisdiction the accused has his residence or his place of business or subsidiary office. In cases where there is more than one accused, the jurisdiction may cover any one of the accused. It may also be where the ‘cause of action’ appears.

Step 3: Consumer Court Fee

Thereafter, the complainant shall pay with the complaint the standard fee to the District, State, or National Commission, wherever applicable.

Step 4: Content of Complaint and Supporting Documents

The complainant should carefully draw up the consumer complaint along with all relevant factual evidence, with his attestation and signature. The complaint must contain the name, address, and description of the complainant and the accused against whom relief is sought in court. Furthermore, if the complainant has authorized another person to file the complaint, the complaint must be supplemented by an authorized letter from the complainant.

The complaint must include a copy of invoices for goods or services obtained from the accused, warranty or/and guarantee of goods/services, copy of the letter of complaint, and all supporting and relevant documents including legal matters. He served a notice to the accused asking him to return the goods sold or to pay compensation.

Finally, the complainant must submit an affidavit along with the complaint that in his opinion the facts asserted in the complaint and the evidence presented are completely accurate and factual.

Apart from that, the complaint must be submitted in the forum with at least 5 copies and supplementary copies for each accused party.

Step 5: Seek Compensation

The complainant must clearly state in the consumer complaint what kind of relief or compensation he/she seeks from the accused party. The compensation cost or loss suffered by the complainant should be clearly stated in the consumer complaint.

In addition, customers have the right to demand reimbursement of goods/services, cost of product injury, litigation costs, as well as certain additional interests. The complainant must give a detailed description of the amount requested for compensation under various separate heads.

Step 6: Limitation Period and Delay

A plaintiff has only two years from the date the cause of action accrued to file a suit. Further, an appeal must be filed with the State Commission within 45 days of the order of the District Commission. An appeal to the National Commission must be filed within 30 days of the order being received by the lower court.

When there is a delay in filing the complaint, the complainant only must explain such delay to the satisfaction of the Tribunal. Delay can be condoned only if the Tribunal is satisfied that the reason for the delay is reasonable and not malicious.

Step 7: Final Filing

A consumer complaint may be personally addressed by the complainant, her/his representative who has an authorization letter, or her/his lawyer.

The complainant has the option of sending the complaint by registered mail, the receipts of which should be stored for future reference. However, the complaint can also be filed online through the official website at https://consumerhelpline.gov.in/, which is more convenient for consumers as it saves time. The complaint fee must be submitted through the available online payment portal.


Following are some landmark judgments on consumer protection and redressal:

(1) Veena Khanna v. Ansal Properties & Industries Ltd.

The Commission held, If the builder is unable to provide the possession within the stipulated time, they will be responsible for paying an interest rate on the deposited amount that matches the interest rate of the bank loan acquired by the buyer.

(2) Spring Meadows Hospital v. Harjol Ahluwalia

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) decided on a case involving medical negligence, which was later appealed to the Hon'ble Supreme Court. The question posed in the appeal was whether the case fell within the purview of the Consumer Protection Act, of 1986 and whether both parties could be considered consumers under the Act. The NCDRC held the hospital liable for the actions of its resident doctor and nurse, awarding compensation of Rs. 12.51 Lakh to the child and Rs. 5 Lakh to the parents for mental anguish. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, imposing a fine of Rs. 5,000.

(3) Tarun Kumar Ghai v. Malibu Estate Pvt Ltd

The case at hand pertained to an inequitable agreement between a builder and an allottee, where the builder was imposing penal interest on the allottee but not providing any compensation for delayed completion. The court ruled that the builder's liability, as per the agreement, was limited to refunding the amount paid by the allottee without any interest or compensation, in case the builder abandoned the project in whole or in part. However, if the allottee had delayed payment of installments, they were liable to pay 20% interest and the entire outstanding amount. This agreement was deemed unfair by the court. As a remedy, the builder was directed to pay interest on the deposited amount equivalent to the interest rate of the bank loan.

(4) Ireo Grace Realtech Pvt Ltd. v. Abhishek Khanna & Ors

Supreme Court held- “We are of the view that the incorporation of such one-sided and unreasonable clauses in the Apartment Buyer’s Agreement constitutes an unfair trade practice under Section 2(1)(r) of the Consumer Protection Act. Developers cannot compel the apartment buyers to be bound by the one-sided contractual terms contained in the Apartment Buyer’s Agreement.”

(5) Honda Cars India Limited v. Sudesh Berry

Supreme Court held- The manufacturer of a vehicle cannot be held responsible if a dealer or authorized center fails to provide adequate service in assisting with vehicle repairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is not a consumer?
A person who obtains
  • goods free of charge
  • who avails services free of charge
  • who obtains goods for resale or for any commercial purposes
  • who avails services for any commercial purposes
  • who avails services under a contract of service
What is the fastest way to resolve customer complaints?
The process for resolving customer complaints may include the following steps;
  • Listen to the complaint
  • Record the details of the complaint.
  • Get all the facts.
  • Discuss options for solving the problem.
  • Act quickly.
  • Keep your promises.
  • Follow up.
Which is the best consumer forum in India?
National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission is the best forum for the consumer in India. The NCDRC hears appeals against the decision of the State Commission and cases where the amount claimed exceeds ₹1 crore.
What Consumer Rights are guaranteed under the Consumer Protection Act of 2019?
The consumer is having the following six consumer rights under the Act
  • Right to Safety
  • Right to be Informed
  • Right to Choose
  • Right to be heard
  • Right to seek Redressal
  • Right to Consumer Awareness
How long does it take for Copyright registration?
Copyright comes into being as soon as a work is created and no formalities need to be completed to obtain copyright.
Is a complaint in the consumer forum chargeable?
Fees for filing assessment complaints up to Rs. 10,000/- should be nil and as per Rule 9A of the Consumer Protection Rules, 1987 (Central Rules) may be amended accordingly.
What are the top customer complaints?
Following are the top common customer complaints
  • The product is out of stock.
  • Broken/defective product.
  • The product does not meet expectations.
  • Preferred payment not accepted.
  • Disappointing customer service.
  • The point needs to be reiterated.
  • The problem was not resolved on the first call.
What are some golden rules for handling customer complaints?
Golden Rules for Handling Customer Complaints;
  • Express your sincere apologies and thanks.
  • Ask and then listen.
  • Ask them what they expect as a result of their complaint.
  • Verify your proposed solution will meet their needs.
  • Take ownership of solving the problem.
  • Return to the customer.
Can a person buying goods or hiring services for business purposes make a complaint?
Does the consumer need an advocate to represent his case in the Commission?
Consumer Commissions are quasi-judicial entities that aim to offer a swift and straightforward resolution of consumer grievances, without involving the intricate legal procedures of civil courts. These bodies follow an informal process that is not bound by the formalities of the civil court system. Consumers can file and present their complaints without the need for legal representation, as they can represent themselves or delegate a representative to act on their behalf.
How do you get zero customer complaints?
How to Reduce Customer Complaints –
  • Use advanced technology to monitor security issues.
  • Provide exceptional customer service.
  • Ensure to deliver on promised standards.
  • Ask for feedback.
  • Find the root of the problem.

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