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Relief for online shoppers

- Shillong residents can approach local consumer court with grievances

Shillong, Dec. 25: There is good news for those who are hooked to online shopping.

The Meghalaya State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, popularly known as the consumer court, recently resorted to a pathbreaking judgment, which will provide relief to a large number of online consumers.

The commission has held that where a consumer makes purchases through the Internet from his or her place of residence at Shillong, he or she is entitled to approach the consumer court within the local jurisdiction in case of any related complaint. Ordinarily, the consumer does not have to file a complaint in the goods supplierís or service providerís place of business.

With giant strides in technological development, several purchases are being made via the Internet. There have been instances where consumers have found themselves at the receiving end while making online purchases.

In another important judgment, the commission has held that an insurance company, in the event of a dispute over an insured personís age, cannot rely on the voter list.

The commission has held that in case a bank accepts deposits in the public provident fund account of a consumer in excess of the prescribed amount without demur, it cannot refuse to pay compensation to the consumer.

The commission, headed by Justice (retd) P.K. Mushahary as president, comprises Ramesh Bawri as senior member and Patricia Mukhim as member.

A commission official said during the last six months since the president took charge, the commission had disposed of 88 cases, leaving only 10 pending cases, which will be decided and disposed of shortly.

Besides, a batch of judgments are pending relating to the question on whether or not consumer courts can be approached in respect of disputes relating to mobile and telephone services, the official said. Consumers who have grievances relating to any goods purchased or services availed of by them, can file complaints before the district consumer forum where compensation claim is upto Rs 20 lakh.

For claims between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 1 crore, the State Consumer Commission may be directly approached. Complainants can appear personally without engaging any lawyer.

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