From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Features of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019
Mains level : Consumer protection legislation in India
The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 has come into effect from July 20, replacing the earlier Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
What are the Rights of the Consumers?
Try this question from our AWE initiative
Compare and contrast the Consumer Protection Act 1986 with that of the Consumer Protection Bill 2018. How far do you think the changes made are consumer centric towards benefiting the consumer more? Examine. (250 W/ 15 M)
Consumer Protection Act, 2019: Key Features
1) 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.
2) Rights of consumers
The following consumer rights have been defined in the Act, including the right to:
- be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property;
- be informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services;
- be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive prices; and
- seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices.
3) Establishment of Central Consumer Protection Authority
- The central government will set up a 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.
4) Penalties for misleading advertisement
- 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.
- CCPA can also prohibit the endorser of a misleading advertisement from endorsing that particular product or service for a period of up to one year.
- For every subsequent offence, the period of prohibition may extend to three years.
5) 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 etc.
- Complaints against an unfair contract can be filed with only the State and National 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.
6) 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.
7) Product liability
- Product liability means the liability of a product manufacturer, service provider or seller to compensate a consumer for any harm or injury caused by a defective good or deficient service.
- To claim compensation, a consumer has to prove any one of the conditions for defect or deficiency, as given in the Act.