Consumer Protection Act,2019:
- The Consumer Protection Act,2019 comes in to force from 20th July 2020.
- This new Act will empower consumers and help them in protecting their rights through its various notified Rules and provisions like Consumer Protection Councils, Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions, Mediation, Product Liability and punishment for manufacture or sale of products containing adulterant / spurious goods.
- The Act includes the establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect, and enforce the rights of consumers.
What is the bill about?
- The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
- It seeks to enhance the protection of consumers’ interests and timely settlement of their grievances.
- The bill will replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 if passed.
What is the definition of Consumer?
- A consumer is defined as a person who buys any goods or avails a service for 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.
What are the rights of consumers?
- Be protected against the 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.
- Seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices.
What is the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)?
- The central government will set up a CCPA to promote, protect, and enforce the rights of consumers.
Functions of CCPA:
- Inquiring through an investigation wing, the violations of consumer rights, investigating and launching prosecution at the appropriate forum.
- Passing orders to recall goods or withdraw services that are hazardous, repayment of the price paid, and discontinuation of the unfair trade practices.
- Issuing directions to the concerned trader/manufacturer/ endorser/advertiser/publisher to either discontinue a false or misleading advertisement or modify it;
- Imposing penalties on manufacturers of unsafe goods and endorsers and publishers of misleading advertisements.
- Issuing safety notices to consumers.
What are the penalties for misleading advertisement?
- The CCPA may impose a penalty of up to Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for up to 2 years.
- Subsequent offense - Up to Rs 50 lakh fine and imprisonment for up to 5 years.
What is the 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.
- One major change from the 2018 bill is that the new bill does not insist on having at least 50% of the commission to be from the judicial background.
What is the jurisdiction of CDRC?
- District CDRC – Entertain complaints where the value of goods and services does not exceed Rs 1 crore.
- State CDRC – Entertain complaints where the value is more than Rs 1 crore but does not exceed Rs 10 crore.
- National CDRC – Entertain complaints where the value exceeds Rs 10 crore.
What is product liability?
- It 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 Bill