The consumer is anyone who buys and consumes the goods and services from the seller in exchange for money or any other material consideration. Consumer Protection Act of 1986 is now annulled with Consumer Protection Act, 2019, which is more comprehensive, precise, and fair in terms of providing justice to the consumer. This Act has some fundamental and essential rights preserved in it for the protection of the interests of the consumers. This is the Act that gave legal authority to the societal force, which was created much earlier to protect the rights of the consumer.
Meaning and Definition of Consumer Protection
Consumer protection requires protecting the interest and rights of consumers. In other words, it refers to the procedures adopted for the safety of consumers from deceitful and immoral unprofessional conduct by the businesses and to provide them speedy redressal of their grievances.
Consumer Protection Council in India
The appropriate Government creates a Consumer Protection Council at both the Central and State levels. The Central Consumer Protection council meets whenever necessary but at least once a year, but the State Consumer Protection Council must meet twice a year. It is the advisory council, and the intent of the Councils is to give advice on the promotion and protection of the consumers’ rights under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
Consumer Protection Law
The consumer’s benefits and rights are safeguarded through the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. Consumer Protection Act of 2019 is a regulation to protect the interests of consumers. This Act offers safety to consumers regarding substandard products, disappointing services, and unethical trade practices. The basic aim of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, is to protect the rights of the consumers by establishing authorities for appropriate and efficient management and resolution of consumers’ disputes.
New Consumer Protection Act, 2019
The new Consumer Protection Act was approved by Parliament in 2019. It came into force in July 2020 and replaced the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. It is an Act to offer protection of the interests of consumers, and to achieve the purpose; it establishes authorities for appropriate and efficient administration and resolution of consumers’ disputes and for matters related therewith or collateral thereto.
Definition of Consumer
A consumer is well-defined as a person who buys any goods or avails a service for consideration. It does not comprise of a person who acquires the goods for reselling or use for commercial purposes. It covers operations through all modes, including offline and online through electronic means, teleshopping, multi-level marketing, or direct selling.
Consumer Protection Rights
The rights provided under the consumer protection Act are:
- Be safeguarded against the promotion of goods and services which are dangerous to life and property.
- Be notified of the condition, quantity, strength, clarity, specification, and price of goods or services.
- Be guaranteed access to a range of goods or services at economical prices and
- Ask for redressal against unreasonable or uncertain trade practices.
Consumer Protection cases are applicable only in India
It was laid down by the National Commission that the Indian Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is not relevant to cases concerning a cause of action arising outside India. In this case, the complainant prayed for the grant of reward when the cause of action arose in Barcelona. Therefore, the Consumer Protection Act applies only to the cases in India.
Consumer Protection Forum
The pecuniary jurisdiction of all the three commissions (district, state, and national), earlier called forums, has been raised up to Rs 10 crore and more financial-related cases. District commission would be handling the cases falling under rupees 1 crore. The State commission would be dealing with the disputes falling under rupees 1 crore to 10 crores. A national commission would be dealing with cases involving a monetary value of 10 crores and above. The commissions, for the first time, were given the power to review their own judgments.
Consumer Protection Rules for eCommerce
The Consumer Protection Act of 2019 got the assent of the President of India and was circulated in the official gazette on August 9, 2019. The Act came into being on July 20, 2020. It replaces the three-decade-old Consumer Protection Act of 1986. In continuation to the provisions of the Act, on July 23, 2020, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution published the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, to prevent unreasonable trade practices in e-commerce and support consumer welfare.
Consumer Protection Complaints
The central government has set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to encourage, safeguard and implement the rights of consumers. It will look into the matters related to the infringement of consumer rights, unethical trade practices, and deceptive ads.
Consumer Protection Regulations
The new Act offers flexibility to the consumer to report complaints with the jurisdictional consumer forum situated at the place of residence or job of the consumer. This is unlike the earlier condition where the consumer had to file a complaint at the place of purchase or where the seller has its registered office address. The new Act also includes enabling provisions for consumers to report complaints electronically and for trial and/or examining parties through videoconferencing. Consumers will also not need to appoint a lawyer for the representation of their cases.
We all are consumers in one way or the other. We live in a world where consumers are being exploited each day, but we fail to take action because we feel that it would be just a waste of time and money. We live in a democratic and free country where we should refrain from encouraging such practices and must take the required legal recourse.