Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Consumer Protection Act, 2019
The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 has come into effect from July 20, replacing the earlier Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
- The Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 got the President’s nod on August 2019.
Highlights of the legislation:
- Definition of consumer:
A consumer is defined as a person who buys any good or avails a service for a consideration.
- It does not include a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purpose.
- It covers transactions through all modes including offline, and online through electronic means, teleshopping, multi-level marketing or direct selling.
- Six consumer rights have been defined in the act, including the right to:
- Right to Safety.
- Right to be Informed.
- Right to Choose.
- Right to be heard.
- Right to seek Redressal.
- Right to Consumer Education.
- Central Consumer Protection Authority:
The central government will set up CCPA to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.
- It will regulate matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements.
- The CCPA will have an investigation wing, headed by a Director-General, which may conduct inquiry or investigation into such violations.
- Increased compensation:
The CCPA may impose a penalty on a manufacturer or an endorser of up to Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for up to two years for a false or misleading advertisement.
In case of a subsequent offence, the fine may extend to Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of up to five years.
- Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission:
CDRCs will be set up at the district, state, and national levels. A consumer can file a complaint with CDRCs in relation to:
- Unfair or restrictive trade practices;
- Defective goods or services;
- Overcharging or deceptive charging; and
- The offering of goods or services for sale which may be hazardous to life and safety.
Complaints against an unfair contract can be filed only at the State and National levels.
- Appeals from a District CDRC will be heard by the State CDRC. Appeals from the State CDRC will be heard by the National CDRC.
- Final appeal will lie before the Supreme Court.
- Jurisdiction of CDRCs:
- The District CDRC will entertain complaints where value of goods and services does not exceed Rs one crore.
- The State CDRC will entertain complaints when the value is more than Rs one crore but does not exceed Rs 10 crore.
- Complaints with value of goods and services over Rs 10 crore will be entertained by the National CDRC.
The act provides for reference to mediation by Consumer Commissions wherever scope for early settlement exists and parties agree for it.
- Mediation Cells to be attached to Consumer Commissions. Mediation to be held in consumer mediation cells.
- Panel of mediators to be selected by a selection committee consisting of the President and a member of Consumer Commission.
- No appeal against settlement through mediation.
- Impact of Consumer Protection Act, 2019 on e-commerce platforms:
The e-commerce portals will have to set up a robust consumer redressal mechanism as part of the rules under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
- They will also have to mention the country of originwhich are necessary for enabling the consumer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage on its platform.
- The e-commerce platforms also have to acknowledge the receipt of any consumer complaint within forty-eight hours and redress the complaint within one month from the date of receipt under this Act.
- Product Liability:
A manufacturer or product service provider or product seller will be held responsible to compensate for injury or damage caused by defective product or deficiency in services
- National vs State Commissions vs District Dispute redressal Forums, their compositions.
- Ambit, jurisdiction of the courts and Appeals.
- Can CCPA file suo motu cases?
- Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission- jurisdictions.
- Appeals from a National CDRC.
- Consumer definition and rights defined under the act.
Write a note on consumer dispute redressal mechanism under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986.