State government roles out consumer friendly initiatives
In mid 2016, a person registered a complaint with state consumer affairs department alleging that a developer had violated an agreement. As per the agreement, the flat that the complainant received at New Town was smaller in square feet in comparison with the proposed size mentioned in the agreement.
The developer was called up and asked to explain the problem. The complainant humbly demanded the compensation, but he was repeatedly denied. Later, the complainant reached to the state consumer affairs department to get the justice and lodged a written complaint against that real estate developer.
The department intervened in the case and the matter was put before the consumer court. The accused developer was charged with a hefty fine which he had to give to the owner of the flat.
The state consumer affairs department, which has been helping out the customers for years, has started reaching out to the masses from every social strata, by campaigning on roadsides and meeting people personally to let them know about facilities the department generally gives.
“Our officers are reaching out to people in the streets. We have started to make people aware about their consumer rights. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has taken a strong consumer policy. We have got tremendous response from the people. The helpless consumers are reaching out to us for lodging complaints and also asking for opinions,” said Sadhan Pande, state consumer affairs minister.
There is a simple process that a consumer can find for lodging the complaint with the department. First of all, the consumer needs to find the place where he can lodge the complaint. The office of the accused company or the place of the transaction has to be written there. It could be in any district or Kolkata. The offices of the consumer affairs department are spread across the Bengal.
The complainant can demand up to Rs 20 lakh in the district consumer forum. But if the consumer demands more than 20 lakh, then he or she needs to go to state consumer commission to settle the matter. If any consumer is demanding more than Rs 1 crore against the vendor, then he needs to go to national consumer commission to settle the dispute.
“We are generally campaigning against the fraudulent health schemes, the doubtful non-banking organisation and developers. But we have also received complaints against some organisations which are not issuing cash-memos to the customers. Some are flouting the rules, some businessmen are also using tampered weighing machines to cheat the customers,” said a senior officer of the state consumer affairs department.
He also added that some cell phone service providers are starting various services to the phones without prior permission of the customers. “We have taken note of those allegations and will act duly,” he added.