Dr M S Kamath, honorary secretary of CGSI, said, "The first complaint was from a consumer who had purchased a 40-inch Samsung LED television set from the e-commerce site eBay. He did not receive the physical warranty card despite a long wait. After six months the TV stopped working. When he complained, he was told that the set would be replaced. The replacement package arrived through Blue Dart Courier, but when the buyer opened it, he found the TV set broken. He wrote to eBay asking for a proper replacement but repeated letters drew no response. The company made the consumer undergo an interminable wait after which he requested a refund. That too fell on deaf ears. The complaint was brought to CGSI and with our intervention he got relief. eBay refunded his money."
Another consumer had purchased 24-carat gold biscuits from a jeweller and handed them over to him for making 22-carat gold jewellery. However, when the ornaments were delivered, he discovered a discrepancy in the rate of gold and the weight of the jewellery. Repeat complaints went unheard and he approached the consumer body. The matter was resolved at a meeting between both parties at the CGSI office.
"In the third case, a consumer used a credit card of ICICI Bank on a regular basis and diligently paid his bills. However, he was shocked to receive bills charging a late fee and penalty on interest although no bills had been received for that period. He kept requesting for the 'missing' bills but none were provided. Meanwhile, recovery agents started calling and hounding him. CGSI was brought into the picture and through mediation with the bank the matter has been solved," Kamath said.
The fourth matter involved post office deposits. The head of a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) invested a fairly large amount of money to buy Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP). The post office accepted the money and issued the KVP although HUFs are not allowed to invest in this scheme. At the time of maturity, though, he was informed about this loophole and the post office denied his claim. He made several visits to the office of the Postmaster General and wrote letters to no avail. Hoping for a fair resolution he approached CGSI. The consumer body intervened and the investor shall receive his dues shortly.
CGSI is a leading consumer organisation that was founded in 1966 and has acquired a reputation for working to protect consumer interest. Its consumer complaints redressal wing receives several complaints which the legal aid cell processes. "We first write a letter to the goods and service provider to resolve the matter amicably with the complainant. If this fails, our legal arm guides the complainant to move forward with legal remedies. Each complaint is addressed personally and we charge a nominal fee of Rs 150-250 per case," Dr Kamath said.
CGSI also conducts consumer education drives, seminars and exhibitions to spread consumer awareness among urban poor and rural areas. It carries out testing of consumer products and publishes a bi-monthly magazine named 'Keemat'.