HYDERABAD: If you are sold a faulty pressure cooker, or shoes that have been damaged, what would you do? Would the conscious consumer in you want to fight for accountability? Or would the busy professional in you want to look the other way just because you can’t afford the time and energy? If you fall in the second category, then you probably have not yet heard about the Alternate Disputes Redressal Cell (ADRC). Of late, several consumers are getting quick solutions to their complaints through this cell of the State Consumer Information Centre. For instance, take the case of Arvind Kumar, a sexagenarian who took a stainless steel dealer to task for selling him a faulty pressure cooker costing about Rs 550.
“The cooker I bought from a dealer in General Bazar, Secunderabad was not functioning properly. The vessel was leaking. When I approached the manufacturer, he refused to replace the item after which I approached the ADRC,” says Arvind. Both Arvind and the manufacturer were called for a few counselling sessions at the TS Civil Supplies Bhavan, held on Saturdays. Eventually, his money was refunded.
In a similar case, Secunderabad resident VS Sai Kumar filed a complaint against Bata shoes for selling him walking shoes that were ‘painful’. “The Rs 2,376 walking shoes gave me severe pain and heavy swelling in my ankle within two days of usage. Despite raising multiple complaints on multiple occasions, they did not refund the amount or replace the product,” he had mentioned in his complaint.
Sai Kumar’s case was also solved and money refunded after a few counselling sessions. The real highlight of the cell is that the consumer does not have to file a legal complaint, unlike with the district redressal commission or the state redressal commission. And they are very efficient as far their redressal statistics are concerned.
According to data, of the 746 cases filed with ADRC since its inception, 500 have been settled. The remaining were escalated to the district consumer forums. Officials say that many complaints are even solved through telephonic counselling. Recently, the SCIC has integrated the legal meteorology department to the ADRC for better facilitation of cases relating to the improper display of prices or weights or measures.
Where to go?
The first point of contact for a consumer or company is the Alternate Disputes Redressal Cell
Issues like getting a refund or replacement of products is taken up by ADRC
If complainants are still unhappy and want a compensation, they can approach a District Disputes Redressal Commission
District commissions take complaints seeking maximum compensation up to Rs 20 lakh
It the amount is more than Rs 20 lakh and less than `1 crore, complainants can approach the State Commission
Anything above Rs 1 crore goes to the National Consumer Redressal Commission