In India, consumers are protected by various laws and regulations aimed at safeguarding their rights against unfair practices by private companies. When disputes arise between consumers and private companies, consumers have the right to file complaints and seek redressal through legal channels. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the process of filing a complaint against a private company in India, including relevant laws and sections.

  1. Understanding Consumer Rights:

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019: The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, is a landmark legislation that governs consumer rights and provides a legal framework for addressing consumer grievances in India. Under this Act, a consumer is defined as any person who buys goods or avails services for consideration. The Act enshrines various rights for consumers, including the right to be protected against unfair trade practices, the right to access goods and services of satisfactory quality, the right to seek redressal for grievances, and the right to consumer education.

Relevant Sections:

  • Section 2(7): Defines “consumer” as any person who buys goods or avails services for consideration.
  • Section 2(16): Defines “goods” as every kind of movable property.
  • Section 2(17): Defines “services” as services of any description which are made available to potential users.
  • Section 2(34): Defines “unfair trade practice” as a trade practice that, for the purpose of promoting the sale, use, or supply of any goods or services, adopts unfair or deceptive methods or practices.
  1. Attempting Resolution:

Before resorting to legal action, consumers are encouraged to attempt to resolve their complaints through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. This could involve directly contacting the company’s customer service department and explaining the issue, seeking a refund, replacement, or repair of the product/service.

  1. Filing a Complaint:

Identify the Appropriate Forum: Depending on the nature and value of the complaint, consumers can file a complaint with the following forums:

a. District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum (DCDRF): For complaints involving goods or services worth up to Rs. 1 crore. b. State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (SCDRC): For complaints involving goods or services worth between Rs. 1 crore and Rs. 10 crore. c. National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): For complaints involving goods or services worth over Rs. 10 crores.

Drafting the Complaint: The complaint should contain the following details:

  • Name and address of the complainant and the opposite party (company).
  • Date and description of the transaction.
  • Details of the grievance and relief sought.
  • Copies of relevant documents such as invoices, receipts, correspondence with the company, and any other evidence supporting the complaint.

Filing the Complaint: The complaint, along with supporting documents and a nominal filing fee, should be submitted to the appropriate consumer forum within the jurisdiction where the cause of action arose. The complaint must be filed within the prescribed time limit, which is typically two years from the date of the cause of action.

  1. Legal Remedies:

Once the complaint is filed, the consumer forum or commission will serve notice to the opposite party (company) and hear both sides of the argument. The forum or commission may attempt mediation or conciliation to settle the dispute amicably.

If mediation fails, the forum or commission will proceed to adjudicate the matter based on the evidence and arguments presented by both parties.

Remedies Available to Consumers: The consumer forum or commission has the power to grant various remedies, including:

  • Compensation for damages suffered due to defective goods or deficient services.
  • Replacement or repair of defective goods.
  • Refund of the price paid for the goods or services.
  • Compensation for any loss or injury suffered as a result of the company’s unfair trade practices.
  • Injunctions to restrain the company from engaging in unfair trade practices or from supplying defective goods or services.

Relevant Sections of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019:

  • Section 17: Jurisdiction of Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
  • Section 18: Manner in which complaint shall be made.
  • Section 19: Procedure on admission of complaint.
  • Section 20: Determination of complaints.
  • Section 21: Appeal.
  • Section 22: Penalties for non-compliance with orders of the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.


Filing a complaint against a private company in India involves understanding one’s rights as a consumer and following the prescribed legal procedures. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, provides a robust framework for addressing consumer grievances and seeking redressal for unfair practices by private companies. By following the steps outlined in this guide and availing the remedies provided under the law, consumers can protect their interests and hold private companies accountable for their actions.

Adv. Khanak Sharma

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