Feb 24, 2022

Fooled by a product too similar to your preferred brand? You have the right to file a complaint!

The Delhi High Court has restrained the brand Joy from using, manufacturing, selling, advertising, or dealing in cosmetic products that are deceptively similar to Nivea in terms of label and appearance. The Court found that the shape, size and colour product of “Joy Intense Moisture” lotion was deceptively similar, even if not identical, to that of Nivea.


How does the law classify goods that are deceptively similar?

Goods which are falsely claimed to be genuine, or are fake or imitative of real, original goods are classified as spurious goods. Spurious goods are often of inferior quality and infringe upon the trademarks and copyrights of legal owners of the original goods. Examples of spurious goods include medicines or cheap make-up products found in local markets. Spurious medicines are marketed under another drug’s name, or imitate/substitute another drug in a deceptive way. Consumer protection law gives consumers the right to complain against spurious goods.


Can a person complain if they only used a good, even if they have not bought it?

Yes. A consumer is any person who buys goods and services, as well as anyone who uses them. For instance, a person who watches a movie after buying a movie ticket is a consumer and similarly, a person who uses a gift voucher gifted from someone else  is also a consumer. All consumers have a right to file a complaint for any of the services or goods used by them.


What if a consumer has ordered the product online?

Consumers can complain against e-commerce platforms, such as online shopping websites like Flipkart and Amazon, as well as the manufacturer of the goods. These websites are treated as service providers who work for a profit and are liable when there is a violation of consumer rights.


Where can a  consumer file a complaint?

The consumer protection law specifies relevant authorities and complaint forums that a consumer can approach if their rights as a consumer are violated. There are Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions at the district, state, and national level. The jurisdiction of these Commissions is based on:

  • The value (price) of the goods or services availed;
  • The place of residence of the consumer or seller, or the workplace of one of the parties, or where the dispute began; 
  • The place where the person filing the complaint resides.


Consumer complaints must be filed to the concerned Commission within two years of the issue, and the complaint must be decided by the Commission within three months. This may be extended to five months in case there is a requirement for testing the products/defects. 


A consumer who has filed a complaint with any of the forums given above, can track their case through the Online Case Status portal.

To know more about your consumer rights, read our explainer.