Consumer Protection Act was enacted to provide for the protection of the interests of consumers. It provides a framework for redressal of grievances of Consumers in respect of Goods and services procured by them. The Act provides for three-tier authorities i.e. Consumer Disputes redressal commission, State consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and National Commission to hear consumer complaints(cases) and pass necessary orders after allowing Complainant and the respondent.
Why Legal notice?
The Consumer Protection Act does not mandate the issuance of Legal notice by the consumer as a pre-condition for filing a consumer complaint with the commission with pecuniary jurisdiction. However, it is equally important to bring the grievance of consumers with respect to product or service to the notice of the product manufacturer / the service provider, whichever may be the case. This is required to bring the grievance to the notice of the manufacturer/service provider and giving it an opportunity to redress the same. In the absence of notice it becomes difficult for the consumer to mention in the complaint that the defect in goods /deficiency in the service was brought to the notice of the manufacturer/service provider and it failed to redress the grievances of the consumer.
District Commission /State Commission/National commission can inter-alia order to remove the defect /replace the goods/return the price while deciding any complaint before it, which can be achieved by issuing legal notice if the manufacturer /service provider is willing to redress the grievance of the consumer.
Essential ingredients of a Legal notice
The legal notice should give the brief name of the consumer (even the user is a consumer) and his/her address.
The notice should mention the date of purchase of product/services and the Invoice /cash memo issued at the time of purchase.
The notice should spell out the defect in the goods/deficiency in services with adequate evidence in support of the claim.
The notice should also mention the efforts made by the consumer to approach channels specified by the Manufacturer/Service provider for redressal of grievances
The notice should categorically mention the demand of consumers including compensation/damages etc. and the time period within which the consumer would like the grievances to be redressed.
The notice should be addressed to the concerned person in the Company and not to the Company only. The copy of the notice shall be marked to the highest authority in the Company so that the concerned officers of the Company to whom the Legal notice addressed takes appropriate steps and handle the issue with the seriousness it deserves.
1. What is the time limit to issue a legal notice by the consumer?
The consumer complaint can be filed within 2 years from the date the cause of action arose. Hence Legal notice shall be issued well before 2 years’ time so that the Consumer complaint, if required can be filed within the time stipulated under the Consumer Protection Act.
2. How should one send the notice?
The notice should be sent through Registered A/D, Courier as well as E-mail. Courts are now accepting notice sent through WhatsApp as a proper mode of delivery.
3. What if notice is not received by the addressee?
Keep the undelivered envelopes with remarks. The courts are nowadays accepting dispatch with sufficient proof as Delivered.
4. Do I need to sign the legal notice?
No, the only Lawyer needs to sign the legal notice. The lawyer should mention his/her Bar counsel registration number under his/her name.