The forum President and members are directly / indirectly appointed by the state government and he shall be eligible to be a district judge. All members of the court can have a term of up to five years or up to 65 years, whichever is earlier. The District Consumer Forum cannot conduct a hearing without the President and at least one other member.
A District Consumer Forum can hear cases for any company that operates an office or a branch in the district. It can also hear cases provided the actual reason why consumer is filing the complaint (such as sale or maintenance service that led to the defect) partially or fully occurred within the district. For this same reason, it is VERY IMPORTANT that consumer do not do business with any company that does not have local representation or one that makes consumer sign an agreement regarding the jurisdiction of the dispute.
The law provides that the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has the same powers as a civil court under Code of Civil Procedure 1908, but consumer may be surprised as to how much of this power in law books actually manifests when put to practice. The District Consumer Forum can order the company to take the following actions once it hears the complaint and decides that the company is at fault:
|Correct deficiencies in the product to what they claim.|
|Repair defect free of charges|
|Replace product with similar or superior product|
|Issue a full refund of the price|
|Pay compensation for damages / costs / inconveniences|
|Withdraw the sale of the product altogether|
|Discontinue or not repeat any unfair trade practice or the restrictive trade practice|
|Issue corrective advertisement for any earlier misrepresentation|
If consumer is not satisfied with the verdict from the District Consumer Court, consumer can appeal in the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission within a period of 30 days. If a verdict has been given against the company, it can appeal only after depositing 50% of the compensation to be paid to consumer or Rs.25000/-, whichever is lesser.