This article is written by Abhinav Anand, a student pursuing B.A. LL.B (Hons.) from DSNLU, Visakhapatnam. The article deals with the procedure of filing online complaints on different matters. It also deals with effective ways of handling online complaints and also the effectiveness of the online complaint. It suggests measures that are needed to be taken to strengthen the online complaint mechanism.
The emergence of technology has evolved the process of online complaint systems. The online complaint filing procedure is designed to redress the grievance of the public without any delay. This article deals with different kinds of online complaints. It discusses the effective ways of dealing with the online complaint system and also examines the effectiveness of the online complaint.
Procedure for filing online complaints
With the advent of technology, the world has become a global village. Online complaint procedure has expedited the redressal of complaint and helped the consumer or victims in many ways. It is time and money-saving. Different procedures for filing a complaint online are as follows-
Procedure for filing a cyber complaint online
There are two options for reporting cybercrime on the cybercrime portal
- Report crime related to women and child– under this option one can report crime related to child pornography, sexually abusive material and the explicit video content of rape and gangrape.
- Report other cybercrimes– under this option one can report a mobile crime, hacking, ransomware attacks, financial fraud, cryptocurrency crime, online cyber trafficking.
Information provided for filing the complaint
- Report anonymously– one can report crimes related to online child pornography, rape and gang rape content anonymously. One does not need to provide any personal information. However, the information should be accurate so that the police authorities can take action.
- Report and track– Under this option, the field with a red asterisk is mandatory and must be filled. One needs to provide accurate information regarding complaint name, email address, phone number, address, complaint so that the complaint can be credible.
- Initially, one needs to register themselves by using a valid Indian mobile number. One will receive a One Time Password (OTP). It will remain active for 30 minutes. Once successfully registered one will be able to register his/her complaint.
Selection of State/ Union Territories while reporting a complaint
In case of reporting of a complaint related to “ Report Crime related to Women/Child” by using “Report Anonymously” option, the victim’s location/state/UT and where the incident has happened should be mentioned. If it is a complaint regarding website hosting child pornography then one can select the location of state/ UT from where they are filing
Filing a complaint about other cybercrimes
In filing complaints related to other cybercrimes, one needs to select the “Report Other Cyber Crimes” option. One needs to register themselves with their Indian mobile number. After that, one will receive an OTP. The OTP will be active for 30 mins. After entering the OTP, one can file their complaint. One needs to mention the accurate and complete information, so that police can investigate the crime without any problem.
Types of evidence used in cyber crimes
- Bank statement;
- Chat transcript;
- Suspect mobile phone screenshot.
Procedure for filing an online consumer complaint
The consumer should visit the site of the consumer online resource and empowerment centre (consumerhelpline.gov.in). It is a complaint and grievance redressal system run by the consumer council of India and supported by the department of consumer affairs, government of India.
To lodge a complaint, a consumer needs to register on the site. The online form with name, contact details, and email should be filled. The user id and password of the complainant will be created.
Lodging a complaint
The complaint can be registered against any registered brand with the consumer department. The complaint system has a dropdown menu of the sectors, segments and brands which include all the brands registered under the Department of Consumer Affairs.
The nature of the complaint, the name of any people involved should be attached to the document. The nature of the relief sought should be attached to the complaint.
Once submitted, the complaints are assigned an electronically generated number. This can be used to track the complaint.
Point to note
Multiple Complaints can be filed using the same login credentials and can be tracked online.
The messages sent to the brand are also available for viewing to the track progress.
Complaints can be filed both in Hindi and English.
Procedure for filing online complaints on human rights violation
- Select the state from where one is filing the complaint.
- Select where one wants to file the complaint to the National Human Rights Commission or the State Human Rights Commission.
- One should verify his/her mobile number through a one-time password.
- After successful verification, fill all the mandatory fields.
- Click preview to finalise the comments.
- Upload the required documents in the PDF form only.
- Select whether one wants to show the victim’s name on the website or not.
- After the successful submission of the complaint, one will get the unique diary number.
- With the help of the unique diary number, one can track the complaint.
- Fill the mandatory field marked with asterisks.
Procedure for filing an online complaint about child labour
- Visit the site of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India (pencil.gov.in).
- Click the “ complaint tab”.
- Fill the details of the child-
- Name of the child if available.
- Description of the child
- Photo of the child if available.
- Address of the child where he was found.
- Fill the reporting person details.
- Click “ submit”.
Procedure for filing a complaint against flawed Government services
- Visit the site Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances pgportal.gov.in
- Register on the portal.
- Select the ministry where one wants to lodge a grievance.
- Provide the required information
- One will get a unique id after submitting the grievance.
- One can track his/her grievance.
- The grievance will be redressed within 60 days.
Procedure for filing online FIR
These are the following steps for online filing of the FIR
- Visit the official website of the police of your state.
- Select Services option by scrolling down.
- Choose the complaint option if one wants to file an online police complaint from the online service box.
- File the FIR/complaint accordingly.
- After the submission of the complaint one will receive an e-FIR copy of the report, download it and take a print out of the report.
- Fill the following personal detail when filing for the FIR:
- Enter the complainant’s name
- Enter the father or the mother’s name
- Enter the complainant’s address
- Enter the complainant’s mobile number
- Enter the complainant’s email id.
Effective ways of handling online complaints
These are the principles of effective complaint handling system:
The organisation is committed to effective complaint handling and feedback through the complaints. The organisation should be open to the feedback of the customers. The feedback must be conveyed to the types of machinery and individuals involved in providing the services. The redressal mechanism should have a review every time regarding each complaint. The organisation should accept its inadequacies and try to improve the pitfalls in its service.
Information about how and where to complain should be published and communicated to the consumers effectively. Sometimes, the customer is not aware of the facility of complaining online and he considers this as a hectic task so he usually avoids complaining. The frontline staff should be well versed with the way to deal with the customers and should have the contact details of the complaint handling officer. The information on how to complain should also identify any other alternative that parties can use that is less time consuming and fast.
The complaint should be handled by an in-charge and it should be provided in the information regarding the procedure of filing the complaint. Information on filing the complaint should be available to the customer in a variety of forms, formats and language depending on the needs of the consumer. The online portal must be consumer-friendly and the filing of the complaint must require exact details of the wrong that happened on part of the consumer. The consumer should get an easy understanding of the redressal mechanism so that he can easily track the complaint. The online portal should also provide an easy system of uploading the required document without any authenticity check. The complaint handling system should be available to each person who is aggrieved by the services of the provider as it will be easy for the public to get their grievances addressed. This will also increase the satisfaction among the public towards the organisation.
The complaint should be responded in a proper manner. The reply should be prompt to mitigate the hardships of the consumer. The accountability on the part of the service provider is checked on this basis. Guidance should be given to the persons handling the complaints as they are the ones on whom the entire responsibility lies. So, they should know how to resolve the complaint quickly. They should also anticipate the duration in which they can resolve a claim based on its nature. The complaint handling officer should be especially empowered to deal with the complaints as it will pave the way for immediate resolution of the complaint.
Objectivity and fairness
The complaint should be dealt with in an equitable, reasonable and unbiased manner. The entire resolution process should comply with the principle of natural justice. The service provider cannot take the side of the consumer in order to maintain the reputation of his organisation. The complaint handling process should be transparent. The document and proceeding involved in the complaint handling process should be accessible to the interested parties. The process should be allowed to be dealt with by the people who are trained in that field. The decision of the complaint handling process should be reviewed by the superior officer.
The personal information of the complainant or any party should not be disclosed to anyone. After the resolution process, every data should be destroyed. The leakage of any data will amount to infringement of Right to Privacy which is part and parcel of Article 21 of the constitution.
The organisation should provide the appropriate remedy for the damages suffered by the consumer. The officials should provide a reasoning behind the compensation paid to the customer. The customer should be satisfied with the remedy provided by the organisation.
Effectiveness of online complaint
Increases customer satisfaction
The effective redressal of the online complaint within stipulated time increases the satisfaction of the customer. The customer prefers the organisation every time and recommends it to others. This leads to flourishing the organisation and organisation expand ultimately contributing to the economy.
Increases the credibility of the organisation
The effective complaint increases the credibility of the organisation in the market and it attracts the consumers too. The accountability factor is the important thing to compete anywhere if an organisation is accountable it thrives rapidly. It also flourishes a healthy competition in the market so that by seeing the growth of one establishment other competitors will also use the same method to attract the consumers. It ends the monopoly of an establishment and allows the consumer to avail the best service.
Improves the brand value
The brand value of a particular brand is recognised in the market. Investment in the brand increases. People from different sectors approach that brand for collaborations. It helps in expanding the organisation and ultimately boosting the economy. The job opportunities are also created.
The changing technology has led to a technology-driven society wherein the needs are satisfied by using digital means. The problems arising in these situations should also be dealt with digitally. The time has come to build a robust interconnected infrastructure and make it available to everyone so that their problems can be solved as soon as possible. Stricter laws need to be implemented to protect people from the arbitrary exercise of a person in the administration.
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