The Consumer’s Protection Act: An Overview


After thirty years, the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 was repealed and replaced by the Consumer Protection Act of 2019. In order to expand the scope of consumer rights and address the areas of e‚ąícommerce, direct selling, teleshopping, and other multi‚ąílevel marketing in the age of digitization, the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 was adopted.

What does Consumer’s Protection Act Define?

The Act became effective on July 20, 2020. By applying harsher sanctions, this law seeks to modernise the settlement and administration procedures. The practice of defending consumers against unethical business practices is known as ‚Äúconsumer protection‚ÄĚ. It describes the measures taken to safeguard consumers from dishonest and unethical business practices by sellers, manufacturers, service providers, etc., and to offer remedies in the event that their legal rights as consumers have been violated.

The Consumer Protection Act of 2019 governs the administration of consumer rights protection in India. To replace the Consumer Protection Act of 1986, the Consumer Protection Act of 2019 was proposed. The new Act includes a number of provisions that take into account the difficulties faced by contemporary, technologically dependent customers. The Act also includes a number of clauses aimed at advancing and defending consumer rights.

A Brief History of India's Consumer Protection Act

The protection of consumers has always been a top priority. Effective procedures were put in place in ancient India to safeguard consumers against crimes committed in the marketplace. Ancient law‚ąímakers were skilled at describing numerous types of unethical business activities and recommending harsh penalties for offenders. Adulteration and the use of erroneous weights and measures were primarily addressed.

Some Muslim kings created well‚ąíorganized market systems during the Middle Ages to keep an eye on prices and the flow of supplies to the marketplaces. The modern legal system was established in India during the British era, and numerous laws were passed to typically safeguard the interests of consumers. The Contract Act of 1872, the Sale of Goods Act of 1930, the Penal Code of 1860, the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940, the Usurious Loans Act of 1918, and the Agriculture Procedure (Grading and Marketing Act) of 1937 are just a few of the laws that were passed during the British regime protecting consumer interests. These laws give consumers specific legal protection.

The current civil justice system is riddled with flaws that deter consumers from pursuing legal action. However, the Consumer Protection Act of 1986, which allowed for simple access to the legal system, brought about a legal revolution in India thanks to its affordable procedures and widespread backing.

Who is a "Consumer"?

According to Section 2(7) of the 2019 Act, a ‚Äėconsumer‚Äô is any person who purchases things or uses services in exchange for payment. This definition also covers users, with the exception of those who have purchased goods or used services in order to resell them or use them for business purposes. The definition's explanation makes it clear that the phrases "buys any things" and "hires or avails of any services" include any electronic transactions made online, as well as direct selling, teleshopping, and multi‚ąílevel marketing. This act's unique feature‚ÄĒonline transactions‚ÄĒwas added with the expanding e‚ąícommerce industry and technological advancements in mind.

Important Aspects of the 2019 Consumer Protection Act

It includes ‚ąí

  • The new Act, which was created with the interests of contemporary consumers in mind, includes new terms that were not included in the previous Act. According to Section 2(1), "advertisement" is defined as any audio or visual publicity, representation, endorsement, or pronouncement made by means of light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet, or website, and includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice, or similar documents. This means that a consumer who has been harmed by a misleading advertisement can now approach the relevant authorities in search of relief.

  • According to Section 2(5)(vii) of the Act, a parent or legal guardian may contact the authorities on behalf of a minor who is a consumer to request assistance.

  • With the definition of "complaint" under Section 2(6)(vii), a new clause of "product liability action" [Section 2(35)] has also been added, which is directed at the product seller, manufacturer, or service provider, as applicable.

Therefore, from now on, a "consumer" will be defined as anyone who "buys any goods" and "hires any services," which includes electronic transactions made both online and offline, such as teleshopping, direct selling, and multi‚ąílevel marketing, as well as both.

The Rights, Duties, and Responsibilities of Consumers

It includes ‚ąí

Consumer’s Right

  • The right of the consumer to be protected against the marketing of goods, products, or services that are hazardous to life and property,

  • The right to information about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard, and price of goods, products, or services, as applicable, in order to protect,

  • The consumer has the right to be assured against unfair trade practices,

  • The right to adequate compensation or consideration from respective consumer forums if the seller has wronged them.

  • A person's right to consumer education.

Consumer’s Duties

  • Safety ‚ąí The primary responsibility of consumers is to stay safe, so when they purchase an item, they are given various labels and warnings. They should read the information and adhere to it.

  • Making the best decision ‚ąí Before deciding whether to buy a product, the consumer must take the time to evaluate its features and costs. In most cases, there are multiple options for each product on the market; it is up to the consumer to choose the one that will serve their needs the best.

  • Expression ‚ąí Consumers should voice their concerns or compliments to the relevant parties, such as the manufacturer or the Better Business Bureau.

  • Compensation should be sought if the product is unsuccessful or falls short of expectations. While some manufacturers include warranties with their products, others will refund your money if your purchase is unsatisfactory.

  • Research should be used to educate consumers so they can find the best product for their needs. Consumer Reports is one organisation that provides helpful, unbiased product advice.

  • Act of responsibility ‚ąí The buyer is required to use the goods in a way that doesn't harm the environment or other buyers. To prevent hurting others with the use of the product, consumers should heed the warnings on the packaging and safety labels.

Responsibility of the Consumer

Consumers are required to fulfil the following obligations ‚ąí

  • Under the Consumer Protection Act, Consumers are granted a number of rights, including the right to safety, the right to make decisions, the right to an audience, and others, However, these rights are only useful if the consumer exercises them. The consumer is obligated to choose the product in accordance with his preferences, to complain if he is dissatisfied with the product's quality, to be informed of his rights, and to exercise those rights as needed.

  • Consumer Caution ‚ąí Don't just accept the seller's words at face value. He must be adamant about acquiring complete information on the items or services' quality, quantity, usefulness, price, etc.

  • Making Complaints for the Redress of Genuine Grievances‚ąí Most of the time, consumers fail to consider the loss they incur as a result of purchasing a defective good or service. However, this failure to make a complaint encourages dishonest businesspeople to sell subpar products and services. Even a minor loss requires a complaint from the consumer. Consumer awareness will increase retailers' attention to providing high‚ąíquality goods.

  • Consumers must be Quality Conscious ‚ąí Only when consumers themselves stop compromising the quality of the product can the issues of the supply of substandard goods, adulterated products, and duplicate products be resolved. Consumers must check for quality marks like the ISI mark, Agmark, ISO, Wool Mark, etc. when buying goods or services.

Important Provisions of the 2019 Consumer Protection Act

Major provisions of the 2019 Consumer Protection Act are ‚ąí

  • Central Consumer Protection Council

    The Central Consumer Protection Council, also known as the Central Council, shall be established by the Central Government in accordance with Chapter 2 Section 3 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. The Central Council, which serves as an advisory body, must include the following individuals ‚ąí

    • The Minister‚ąíin‚ąíCharge of the Department of Consumer Affairs in the Central Government will be appointed as the chairperson of the council, and

    • The council will have any number of official or non‚ąíofficial members representing the necessary interests as defined by the Act, with the Minister in charge of the Department of Consumer Affairs in the Central Government serving as chairperson.

  • State Consumer Protection Council

    Each state government is required to create a State Consumer Protection Council, also known as the State Council, with exclusive authority over that state. The State Council serves as a consultative body. The State Council's members are ‚ąí

    • The Consumer Affairs Minister of the state will be chosen to serve as the council's chairperson.

    • Any number of members, whether official or not, who are required to represent certain interests under the Act, and,

    • For the purposes of this Act, the Central Government may also appoint up to ten members.

  • District Consumer Protection Council

    According to Section 8 of the Act, the state government must create a District Consumer Protection Council, also known as the District Council, for each district. The District Council's members are ‚ąí

    • The District Council's Chairperson will be designated as that district's collector, and

    • Any additional members who represent essential interests as defined by the Act.

Conclusion

The new updated Consumer Protection Act of 2019 provides consumers with a wide range of benefits and rights to safeguard them from unfair business practises, false or misleading advertising, etc. The Act gives consumers the option to use mediation and other alternative dispute resolution processes so that the parties can choose a quick and efficient resolution of their disputes. The Act's inclusion of e‚ąícomplaints and e‚ąíconsumers shows that certain members of the legislature were forward‚ąíthinking. Additionally, the Act added new concepts like "product responsibility" and "unfair contracts," broadening the extent of protection for consumers' rights and enabling them to complain when those rights have been infringed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why was Consumer Protection Act replaced 2019?

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 replacing the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, has been enacted with a view to widen the scope of consumer rights and cover the field of e‚ąícommerce, direct selling, tele‚ąíshopping and other multi levels of marketing in the age of digitization. The Act came into force on 20th July 2020.

Q. Who can file a complaint under Consumer Protection Act, 2019?

Ans. Under the Consumer Protection Act 2019, One or more consumers, any registered voluntary consumer association, the Central or State Government, heirs, or legal representatives of the consumer can file a complaint before the consumer forum. Where the consumer is a minor, his parent or legal guardian can file the complaint.

Q. What is the role of Consumer Protection Act?

Consumer Protection Act provides Consumers rights and protects them from fraud or specified unfair practices. These rights ensure that consumers can make better choices in the marketplace. The act also empowers the consumer to file a complaint against any seller or service provider in case of fraud or unfair trade practice.

Updated on: 19-Dec-2022

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