VISAKHAPATNAM: With increase in the number of consumer cases and lack of awareness amongst people on the procedure to be followed, the redressal mechanism to dispose of the cases has slowed down.
According to Surya Bhaskaram, the president of District Consumer Forum-I, “As many as 150 and 140 consumer cases are pending in Forum I and Forum II respectively which were filed in 2015-16. Every month, we get around 30-40 complaints and 25-30 on an average are disposed of on merit basis every month.”
“Most of the cases which are pending are of insurance claims, medical negligence, banking services, real estate and consumer goods. Besides the genuine cases, we also receive petitions on frivolous matters which take away a lot of time dealing with them,” she added.
For the speedy disposal of cases, people can approach the registered consumer’s protection council and if it is not resolved, they can approach the consumer forums. Bhaskaram said, “Alternative mechanisms are not needed if people get the required proofs (copies of bills) and documents while filing the case.
This will help in saving a lot of time not only for the bench to resolve the case but also the individual to claim his/her services faster.” According to H Ananda Rao, president of District Consumer Forum-II, “The district forum handles original complaints where the claim amount is up to Rs 20 lakh and the fee collected is Rs 500.”
Ananda Rao said, “To expedite the cases, consumers can call to seek information, advice or guidance for queries and complaints on the national consumer helpline toll free no. 1800-11-4000. We are also trying to help consumers to use Internet as it would be consumer- friendly.”