The Tribunal for Consumer Claims (“TCCM”) or the Tribunal Tuntutan Pengguna Malaysia (“TTPM”) is an alternative forum other than a court action to provide redress for buyers in a fast, simple and cost-effective manner.
Established under the Consumer Protection Act 1999, the jurisdiction of the Tribunal covers:
- ‘consumers’ defined as buyers of goods or services for personal or domestic use and not for commercial purposes;
- claims not exceeding RM50,000.00 unless parties have agreed in writing to allow the Tribunal to hear claims exceeding the value; and
- claims filed within 3 years.
It does not, however, cover claims over land matters, wills and inheritance, intellectual property, healthcare services, aviation services (read our article on aviation claims), claims that have been brought to other tribunals and claims arising from personal injury or death.
Below is an easy step-by-step so you have everything with you before you begin.
1. User Registration
First, sign up for an account by selecting ‘Register an Account’ for first-time users.
2. Filing a Claim
To file a claim, select ‘File a Claim’ where there would be four steps to be completed:-
Step 1 : Registration
Step 2: Respondent Information
This refers to the seller’s details which requires
- Name and details of the seller
- Name, details and address of company
- Company Registration Number (can be checked on the company’s website itself)
Step 3: Statement of Claim (Form 1)
Step 4: Verification
3. Attach Supporting Documents
Attach any relevant supporting documents such as receipts, emails, screenshots of conversations etc.
To file the complaint, a filing fee of RM5.00 must be paid via online banking. Your case would then appear under ‘Claim Case’ with its case number and details.
5. Send Documents to Seller
One must then serve physical copies of documents via post or via hand. Keep a copy of Form 1 for yourself.
- Serve one copy of Form 1 and four copies of Form 2 to the seller,
- By post or,
- By hand where one can leave it at their premises and take a photo.
6. Await Response from Seller
In response to the claim, the seller/respondent may file a Form 2 – Statement of Defence to the buyer’s claim and a Counter-claim against the buyer. A counter-claim is when the seller asserts that the buyer owes them something too.
Subsequently, complainant can file a Form 3 – Defence to Counter-claim (if any). Finally, the Tribunal will issue a Form 4 – Notice of Hearing to inform parties of the date, place and time of hearing.
7. Settling Claims
In a situation where the seller contacts you to resolve the issue amicably, then congratulations the case is settled. You can then submit a ‘Notice of Discontinuation’ to discontinue the action.
However, if the claim is not settled successfully, parties would go on to attend a hearing at the Tribunal. Unlike a court proceeding, parties in this Tribunal are not allowed to be represented by a lawyer.
Both parties would be heard and given the right to adduce evidence and witnesses to support their case. Primarily, the Tribunal’s aim is to reach a consensus agreement to resolve the case.
An award granted by the Tribunal is final, binding and enforceable as if it were a Magistrate’s court order. Parties may lodge a non-compliance complaint to the Enforcement Division whereby failure to comply within 14 days will result in a fine of up to RM10,000.00 or imprisonment of up to two years or both. For every day of a continuing offence, one is liable to a fine between RM100.00 to RM5,000.00 for each day.
Nevertheless, dissatisfied parties may still present their case to the High Court for a judicial review and reassessment of the award. Parties who were absent during the hearing can apply to set aside the award in Form 12.
Complaint by Counter
At the point of writing, filing of complaints by counter at the Tribunal office is only on an appointment basis due to the prevailing Covid-19 conditions.
The process is the same as above whereby one would instead file Form 1 at any Tribunal counter throughout the country along with the filing fee of RM5.00.
The Forms can be obtained from the Tribunal office or downloaded via TCCM’s website.
As a conclusion, every consumer should remain vigilant and ensure that purchases are made from a certified seller or a registered business to avail oneselves to the Tribunal’s remedies. Moreover, compared to a Small Claims Court which requires one to go to the court, one can quickly and easily file a claim at TCCM from the comforts of your home.
Published on 23 August 2022