Mandation of Complaint Handling Mechanism for Retailers/Brands

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At present the retailers/brands for products like Air-conditioners, fridges, washing machine, LEDs and allied products of domestic appliances do not have proper complaint mechanism which results in harassment to the consumers as he is unable to get the proper services after the sales of the products. Even in some cases specially in e-commerce situation, many a times the consumer gets item which is either defective, broken or dead on arrival. Some problem do occur also when the product is purchased from retail outlet but is not possible to be tested before accepting the deliveries. While the consumer has already paid the cost of the product he is unable to use even for weeks, months etc. which either is repaired or replaced after a very long time. In a scenario where the product is found defective/dead on arrival, the consumer is forced to buy the repaired product. This also encourages the retailer to sell even the known defective products. The consumer is advised to contact the authorised service centres/ manufacturers to lodge the complaint thus absolving themselves from the responsibilities of extending after sale services. There are number of issues faced by the consumers and in the end feels humiliated/harassed. In view of such numerous problems being faced by consumer, Department of Consumer Affairs, Govt. of India is appealed to mandate all the retailers/brands for a simple complaint mechanism through a code of conduct some of which are stated below:
1. All retailers/brands/outlets should provide details of the officials including name, contact number, email id, postal address with whom the complaint can be registered. The consumer may be acknowledged with the complaint number through SMS/ Email depending upon the manner in which the complaint is made.
2. All the products defective/dead on arrival whether online supply or supply through show rooms/retailers should get replaced within 24 hrs of making a complaint to the point of purchase.
3. The invoice may contain the information of the consumer care centre invariably along with the item description.
4. The consumer be acknowledged with the complaint number by SMS/Email through an automated mode or say within 2 hrs at the maximum.
5. While acknowledging the complaint, the consumer be also intimated the approximate time within which the complaint is expected to be resolved.
6. After resolution of the complaint, the complaint should be closed only after explicit verification of the consumers feedback by giving some time frame and if no feedback is received within the stated time frame, the complaint be closed as resolved. In my view the time frame may be say 24 hrs.
7. Each brand may specify their time frame to resolve the complaints on their website to enable consumers for an informed decision at the time of purchase.
8. The brands may adhere through a code of practices to publish the data on a quarterly period or as appropriate pertaining to the number of complaints received and resolved during the reporting period.
9. While specifying the products available for the market, the brands may provide certain details like
a. Expected life of the product
b. The time period for which critical spares as required for after sales service beyond warranty period would be available.
c. If any spare is not available during the warranty period for a certain specified time of the complaint, the product should get replaced
d. Any product not meeting to the expected life of the products should get upgarded with proportional discount equal to the shortfall in its life expectancy.

The above points are suggestive and the members of this community may like to add their points for consideration of the Department of Consumer Affairs to mandate the Brands through model code of practices.

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