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Online filing of consumer complaints mandatory from April 2023

What's the news: The Department of Consumer Affairs on November 30 announced that the government will make e-filing of consumer complaints mandatory from April 2023, PTI reported. Currently, people can file complaints in both physical and online modes before consumer commissions or courts. Why does this matter: The government expects this move to help in speedy redressal of complaints given that online complaints can be processed faster and more efficiently. According to a government official, e-filing will help people file consumer complaints directly, without the help of a lawyer. The move is also part of the government's efforts to make all things digital. For example, complaints by users with the proposed Data Protection Board of India under the new data protection bill will be handled completely digitally. How does the e-filing system works: If, for example, a consumer has an issue with a product they bought on an e-commerce platform, the consumer has the right under the Consumer Protection Act to file a complaint on the National Consumer Helpline either by call, SMS, an online portal, or the NCH and UMANG apps. "To address consumer grievances, there is a three-tier system starting with the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (DCDRF). At the state level, it is the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and at the national level, it is the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission," the Department noted. The success of e-filing promoted this move: The e-filing option for consumer complaints was introduced in September 2020.  "Looking at the success of e-filing, we are going to make it…

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