Monday, February 11, 2013

Scope of consumer complaint

The National Consumer Commission ruled last week that even if a work contract is terminated for breach of terms, a consumer complaint can be moved before it. In this case, Poonam Chambers vs Aluplex India Ltd, the former filed a complaint for recovery of damages for the work left unfinished by the latter. The contract was terminated and the work was got completed through other agencies. When Poonam Chambers moved the Maharashtra state consumer commission, it dismissed the complaint at admission stage on the ground that the contract was terminated earlier to filing of complaint. Hence, no relationship of consumer and service provider subsisted between the parties and there is no consumer dispute under Consumer Protection Act. On appeal, the national commission set aside the state commission’s judgment and stated that “once the parties entered into a contract to provide service and the latter stopped work, the aggrieved party is entitled to file claim on account of deficiency of service even after termination of contract. Merely by termination of work contract it cannot be inferred that there was no relationship of consumer and service provider between the parties.” 


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