Table of Contents
- What is a Legal Notice?
- Importance of filing a Legal Notice
- In what cases can we send legal notice?
- What do you mean by a deficiency in the service?
- Important elements in sending a legal notice for deficiency in service
- Who can send a legal notice for deficiency in service?
- When to send a Legal Notice?
- How to draft a legal notice for Deficiency in Service?
- Best practices on sending legal notice
- The procedure of filing of a Legal Notice
- Replying to Legal Notice (What should you do after receiving a legal notice?)
What is a Legal Notice?
A legal notice means a letter written in clear and straight-forwarded words to a person or an organization to do or not to do certain acts, failing to which the sender can file a lawsuit against the receiver. It is an act of communicating formally between two or more parties that the sender intends to take legal action against the receiver/s. It is the first step while filing a lawsuit.
The person who sends the notice is called the sender, whereas the person or organization that receives it is called the addressee. The sender provides some time to the addressee to resolve the issue or present his side in court.
It has several advantages. Few of them are-
- Saves money
- Saves time
- Reach common consensus
- Provides a reasonable and fair chance
Importance of filing a Legal Notice
According to the lawsuit, the notice is an act or reminder for the receiver from the sender. The receiver needs to visit the court if he fails to do whatever the notice says.
A legal notice depicts the intention of the sender towards the addressee of filing a lawsuit against him.
The sender can easily express his grievances in the notice with the help of a lawyer.
It gives some time to the addressee to resolve the issue before he visits the court.
In what cases can we send a legal notice?
- Non-payment of salary
- Matrimonial issues
- Issues related to property
- Payment of insurance claims issue
- Problems related to negotiable instruments
- Sexual harassment
What do you mean by a deficiency in the service?
According to Section 2(1)(g) of the Consumer Protection Act 1986, “deficiency” means any fault, imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature and manner of performance which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or has been undertaken to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract or otherwise about any service.
According to Section 2(1)(o), “service” means service of any description which is made available to potential [users and includes, but not limited to, the provision of] facilities in connection with banking, financing insurance, transport, processing, supply of electrical or other energy, board or lodging or both, [housing construction,] entertainment, amusement or the purveying of news or other information, but does not include the rendering of any service free of charge or under a contract of personal service; “spurious goods and services” mean such goods and services which are claimed to be genuine but they are not so.
Important elements in sending a legal notice for deficiency in service
The service shall not only be available to its actual users, but also to those who are fully capable of using it.
Any person cannot send a legal notice for deficiency in service if the service provided is free of cost. For instance, if you take medical supplies from a charitable dispensary, you cannot sue the dispensary for the deficiency in service.
The service provided should not be under any kind of contract of personal service.
Who can send a legal notice for deficiency in service?
Section 2(d) of the Consumer Protection Act says that consumer means any person who –
buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any user of such goods other than the person who buys such goods for consideration paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, when such use is made with the approval of such person but does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or any commercial purpose; or
hires or avails of any service for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any beneficiary of such service other than the person who hires or avails of the services for consideration paid or promised, or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, when such services are availed of with the approval of the first-mentioned person, but does not include a person who avails of such service for any commercial purpose.
When to send a Legal Notice?
Only civil cases have to be filed using legal notice. The criminal cases have to be registered through warrants issued by the State. The cases in which legal notice has to be sent are:
- consumer complaint issues like a false advertisement, faulty products or misleading the public
- property issues like
- eviction of the tenant
- issue of partition between family members
- delay of the builder is handing over the property
How to draft a legal notice for deficiency in service?
The notice should have these essential points in it:
- name, description, address of the office or the place of residence of the addressee
- name, description, address of the office or the place of residence of the sender
- details of the issue
- the relief claimed by the sender
- a detailed explanation of the service purchased which caused all the trouble
- amount to be claimed as the compensation
- the time within which the addressee can resolve the issue
Best practices on sending legal notice
- always keep copies of the notice with you
- if there is a logo of the lawyer, prefer colour printouts of the notice
- contacting a lawyer to draft notice is recommended
- both the client and lawyer should be present
- make sure the notice is drafted in the lawyer’s letter pad
- post the notice in the envelope that has the lawyer’s logo on it, ask the lawyer to provide you with such an envelope
The procedure of filing a legal notice
- Look for an advocate with good drafting skills.
- The notice has to be sent in any Indian language (English preferred).
- All the details have to be mentioned in the notice.
- Explain all the issues and matters to the advocate.
- The advocate examines your case.
- After making pointers from your explanation, the advocate starts drafting the notice.
- Provided around 15-30 days for the addressee to settle the matter by negotiation.
- The notice has to be signed by both the advocate and the client.
- The lawyer keeps a copy of the notice with him.
- Depending on the response from the addressee, the lawyer updates the sender about the notice and further plans.
Replying to Legal Notice (What should you do after receiving a legal notice?)
If you receive a legal notice, it is recommended to reply to the notice within the given time frame. While replying to the notice, keep certain points in your mind:
- Read the notice properly, read about the issue raised by the sender and the compensation price.
- Contact your lawyer regarding the notice you receive. Keep your limited time frame in your mind.
- Discuss with your lawyer what to do with the notice, and choose the advantageous path.
- Ask him to draft a proper reply to the legal notice.
- Send the reply to the sender. Keep a copy of the reply with yourself and your lawyer.
Can I send legal notice by WhatsApp?
Yes, legal notice over WhatsApp is valid under the law. The blue tick is the evidence that the addressee has seen the notice. It is recommended to keep a copy of the notice printout with you and send it to the addressee as well.
Is it compulsory to send a legal notice before filing a case?
No! It is not compulsory. But it becomes compulsory to send a notice under Section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure when a person is planning to file a suit against the Government or Government body.
How to send a legal notice to an employer?
The notice has to be sent over email, WhatsApp or by courier.
Can a legal notice be sent by email?
Yes, legal notice over email is valid under the law. It is recommended to keep a copy of the notice printout with you and send it to the addressee as well.
Is it necessary to reply to a legal notice?
No! It is not necessary to reply to the legal notice, but it is highly suggested to answer within the given time frame to avoid further issues.