Every time you pay for something, whether it's a product (like a game or an item of clothing) or a service (like a phone contract or a lease on a house) you are entering into a legal contract.
That means that you have legal rights when it comes to those products and services. These rights, known as consumer rights, are upheld by law.
Who looks after your consumer rights?
Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan is the official body that looks after all Pakistani consumers and makes sure that their rights are protected? If you have any consumer-related problems, CRCP is a great place to start.
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Making a complaint
Process of Registering Complaint in Consumer Court of Pakistan
Whether Pakistan’s government facilitates consumer rights or not but they have setup legal district consumer courts in major districts of Pakistan where a consumer can legally register their complaints. Currently in eleven districts of Punjab district consumer courts are actively operating since year 2007. People from other cities and districts can register their cases in these eleven district consumer courts. Ideally, the aim of these district courts is to provide protection to consumers against manufacturer, supplier, shopkeeper, retailer or any service provider. Consumers can claim their issues of discrepancies and grievances against any product manufacturer or shopkeeper etc. Justice must be served as soon as possible and free of cost. Consumers can alternatively file their complaints to DCO (District Coordination officer).
Issues that can be filed
Following are the issues, consumers can file their complaints in district courts:
- Poor quality of products that are harmful and hazardous to health
- On any product the date of manufacturing and expiry dates are not mentioned.
- No display of price list on sale point
- Receipt of any products are not given by the shop
- Details of product price and related stuff is not mentioned on receipt.
- Misleading product advertisement that leads to false expectations
- No warranty
- Over pricing
- Bad service
Procedure to File Complaint in Consumer District Court
The process of filing a complaint in consumer court of Pakistan is really easy and pretty simple. The best part of this procedure is that at any point you will not need a lawyer and there is absolutely no court fee.
All you have to do is to serve a mere fifteen days’ notice period on plain paper to service provider or company through a registered post. In case, consumer court does not resolve yours complain within fifteen days’ period then you can file a claim on plain paper within subsequent fifteen days to Consumer Court. Furthermore, while filing a claim you have to attach a copy of legal notice, copy of your CNIC, Receipt or any other proof you have against the party you are registering a complain. Court may decide to punish the violator either with imprisonment of up to two years or with fine of Rs. 100,000 or both along with the obligation to pay out the damages or compensation.
Directorate of consumer protection Council
To provide for protection and promotion of the rights and interests of the consumers & in order to raise the standard of goods and services in the province by removing defective products and faulty services from trade and commerce, the Government of Punjab enacted Punjab Consumer Protection Act (PCPA), in the year, 2005. Consequent upon such legislation, District Consumer Courts and District Consumer Protection Councils in eleven districts namely Lahore, Gujranwala, Sahiwal, D.G. Khan, Sargodha, Gujrat, Sialkot, Multan, Bahawalpur, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi have been established, which cover throughout the province, while Directorate of Consumer Protection Council, Lahore serves as Headquarters of said institutions.
The Consumer may file case / claim before Consumer Court which is headed by the District & Session Judge / Additional District & Session Judge. The violator may be punished by the Court, with imprisonment which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to Rs.100, 000/- (Rupees one lac only) or with both in addition to damages or compensation as may be determined by the Court. The Consumer may also file a complaint for violation of provision of following Sections of said Act before the Authority (DCO) who, on being satisfied that such is the case, fine the violator that may extend to Rs. 50,000/- (Rupees fifty thousand only):-
Section- 11: Duty of disclosure regarding Products,
Section- 16: Duty of disclosure regarding Services,
Section- 18: Prices to be exhibited at the business place,
Section- 19: Receipt to be issued to the purchaser.
One important thing which separates this welfare oriented legislation from others is that justice is available free of cost and within limited/short time period to general masses for resolving their grievances against defective products and faulty services.
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