We all wait for our online ordered products very impatiently, right? But what if there is a faulty or altogether different product comes to us much to our dismay?
In case of faulty product, damage or loss to the purchased belonging or property — known as consequential loss calls for compensation to the customer. For instance, an umbrella has several holes to even let the water get through it. In such state, receipts or other evidence of extra costs can be called for reimbursing the customer.
In case of distinct product altogether, there is a straight answer to the question of returning the ‘different’ product or replacing it with another one.
A product must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. All products, whether physical, electrical, digital must meet the elemental standards.
|SATISFACTORY QUALITY||FIT FOR PURPOSE||AS DESCRIBED|
|Goods shouldn’t be faulty or damaged when one receives them. A ‘reasonable person’ would be considered while testing satisfactory for the goods in question.||The goods should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for as well as any specific purpose made known to the retailer.||The goods supplied must match the description given or any models or samples shown at the time of purchase.|
The Consumer Rights Act gives clearly an early right to reject goods that are unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described and get a full refund. If any of the aforesaid criterion doesn’t satisfy the demands one had in the mind for the product purchased, then there has been a breach in the rights of the consumer. Thus, the statutory consumer rights are against the retailer, the company that sold the product.
|There lies a ten or fifteen-day returning policy (depends on the marketing site) from taking the ownership of the purchased product (from the date it was delivered) to claim a refund if it is faulty.|
Three ‘R’s: Return, Refund and Replacement
|One has the right to reject the item and get refunded within thirty days of possessing the goods.|
|One can ask the retailer to repair or replace your item within ten/fifteen days of purchase.|
The three ‘R’s has the following wings for consideration:
- changed your mind to buy the item(s) you have ordered.
- received item(s) in poor, damaged or mutilated condition.
- received an item(s) that is different from the item(s) that you have ordered.
The item must be returned in the original packaging with all original tags/labels attached along with proof of purchase within seven days from date of receipt of items(s) at the consumers’ end. Original shipping cost gets deducted from the refund amount. Gift cards, personalised products, sale, clearance and promotional items are often not eligible for a return or exchange. The refund gets processed to the same account/method from which the payment was made within two-three additional business days for the amount to reflect in the account.
Next road to be taken
What if the three ‘R’s doesn’t solve the loss caused? When we buy things from the market, as a consumer, we expect value for money, i.e., quality, quantity, right price, information about the mode of use, etc. Instances where a consumer is cheated open the doors for further rights and forums to be approached. The Consumer Protection Act seeks to promote and protect the interest of consumers against deficiencies and defects in goods or services. The idea behind the Consumer Forum is to provide relief to both parties and discourage long litigation. In fact, informal adjudication helps forum officials to mediate between the two parties and urge compromise.
The Act provides machinery for consumers to lodge their complaints, which is consequently heard by the Consumer Forums with special powers so that action can be taken against erring suppliers and possible compensation is awarded to the consumer. The provisions of the Act are compensatory and redressal in nature. It is pertinent to note here is that, these Consumer Courts provide redress only in cases of products or services for personal use, not for defects in products used for commercial purposes.
- The complaint must be filed within two years of buying the product or using the service, which must be in writing. Letters should be sent by registered post, hand-delivered, email, or fax.
- The complaint should mention the name and address of the complainant and the person/entity against whom the complaint is being filed. Copies of relevant documents/bills/proof of correspondence must be enclosed.
- The consumer must mention details of the problem and the demand on the company for redressal. This could be a replacement of the product, removal of defect(s), refund, or compensation for expenses incurred, and for physical/mental torture. The claims, however, need to be reasonable.
- Dissatisfied, an appeal can be made with the state commission against the order of the district forum within 30 days of the order, which is extendable for further 15 days.
- An appeal can be made with the National Commission against the order of the state commission within 30 days of the order or within such time as the National Commission allows.
- An appeal can be made with the Supreme Court against the order of the National Commission within 30 days of the order or within such time as the Supreme Court allows.
While on one hand we have the liberty to be handy on the products we choose, we also need to be aware of circumstances on how to deal with when we get hands on faulty/damaged products. As consumers, we have several escapes to wave out from. All we need is the requirement of knowing our basic remedies.
“The views of the authors are personal“