The “consumer” is the starting point for all economic activities, its significance has always been acknowledged in the development of markets around the globe, and the exercise of constitutional/statutory rights by citizens/consumers is crucial to ensuring the rapid growth of an economy. This concept had been comprehended by nearly all nations for centuries, but for a significant portion of world history, consumer protection did not receive much attention. It was predominantly handled by civil courts under Contract Law, which required considerable time to resolve. Only in cases of gross negligence was the merchant held liable for the quality of products previously purchased by consumers.
A Brief Overview of Consumer Protection Legislation:
The first consumer association was founded in 1947 by Denmark, followed by the United Kingdom in 1953. In Europe, a consumer movement arose at the end of the 1950s. In 1962, former US President John F. Kennedy acknowledged for the first time four fundamental consumer rights. The Consumer Protection Act of 1986 was enacted to assist the Consumer Movement in India. The new Consumer Protection Act of 2019 went into effect on July 20, 2020, because the previous law did not adequately protect consumers’ interests.
World Economic Forum (WEF) statistics and the introduction of Consumer Laws in India:
India is projected by the World Economic Forum to become the third-largest consumer market by 2030, with a 7.6% GDP growth rate. A number of factors must be considered when calculating these rankings, one of which is consumer satisfaction, which is contingent on the existence of laws that support it. The Consumer Protection Act of 1986 was enacted to further protect the rights of consumers. Prior to the enactment of this Act, there was no specific law protecting consumers, and the only recourse available to consumers was to submit a civil claim for damages against the merchant or service provider under the Torts Law.
The Consumer Protection Act of 1986 has been repealed and substituted with the Consumer Protection Act of 2019 after thirty years. The Consumer Protection Act of 2019 was enacted to expand the extent of consumer rights to include e-commerce, direct selling, teleshopping, and other multi-level marketing in the digital age. The Act entered into force on July 20, 2020. This Act intends to modernise the settlement and administration procedures by implementing harsher penalties.
Who are the consumers?
A consumer is defined by Section 2(7) of the 2019 Act as anyone who purchases goods or receives services for a fee, excluding those who use these services or goods for resale or commercial purposes. According to the explanation of the definition, “buys any things” and “hires or avails any services” comprise all online transactions conducted via electronic means, as well as direct selling, teleshopping, and multi-level marketing. This law has a special provision for online transactions, which was implemented in response to the expansion of the e-commerce industry and advances in technology. Still have concerns about who constitutes a consumer? You can contact the leading consumer court attorneys in Gurgaon – NCR at The Law Codes for assistance with consumer law matters.
What are your consumer rights and responsibilities?
The Consumer Protection Act recognises the following six consumer rights:
Right to Safety, Right to Information, Right to Choose, Right to Hear, Right to Redress, and Right to Consumer Awareness.
Unfair trade practises in accordance with the 2019 Act:
Section 2(47) of the Consumer Protection Act of 2019 defines unfair business practises. The definition of “unfair trade practise” has been expanded to include:
manufacturing or selling counterfeit goods or engaging in deceptive service practises; neglecting to issue a proper cash memo or invoice for services rendered and products sold.
Refusing to withdraw, take back, or discontinue defective products and services and refund the consideration taken within the time period specified in the bill or within 30 days – if there is no such provision in the bill; disclosing the consumer’s personal information.
The definition of unjust trade practise in the repealed Act of 1986 did not include online deceptive marketing, which was added to the 2019 Act. Have you been subject to unethical business practises? The Law Codes can connect you with the top consumer court attorneys in Gurgaon – NCR to help you combat your legal battles.
Unfair Contract according to the 2019 Act:
The New Act includes the concept of a “unfair contract,” which refers to contracts that prioritise the interests of manufacturers or service providers over those of customers. Separate from other consumer rights is the “right to terminate unjust contracts.” A consumer can now file a complaint regarding this matter. This would help maintain a check on businesses, such as banks and e-commerce sites, that abuse their market power by requiring defenceless individuals to sign unjust contracts and approve their standard terms prior to selling them goods or delivering them services. Are you involved in an unjust contract? Contact the leading consumer court attorneys in Gurgaon – NCR at The Law Codes for assistance with your legal matters.
Creation of the Central Consumer Protection Authority:
The Act of 2019 established the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to manage cases involving consumer rights violations, misleading or false advertisements, unfair trade practises, and the enforcement of consumer rights. The central government shall appoint the members of the CCPA.
Sanctions for deceptive advertising:
The Act of 2019 addresses numerous issues, including deceptive and deceitful advertising. False and misleading advertising are not addressed by the repealed law. According to Section 2(28) of the Act, a misleading description of a product or service in an advertisement that conveys a discriminatory practise violates the spirit of the Act.
Section 21 (3) of the CCPA prohibits the endorser of deceptive and fraudulent advertisements from endorsing other products or services for a period of one year. Section 21(4) of the Act imposes a prison sentence or a fine of up to 10 lakh rupees on anyone who publishes false and misleading advertisements. The publisher of any deceptive advertisements is also responsible for neutralising the effect of such advertisements.
Product liability is one of the 2019 Act’s most notable and significant provisions. This concept is elaborated upon in a discrete chapter of the Act. If a complainant is injured by a faulty product or service, he may initiate a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, service provider, or seller. A manufacturer will be held liable under Section 84 of the Act if the product contains a manufacturing defect, is defective in design, does not adhere to manufacturing requirements, does not comply with an implied warranty, or does not include adequate instructions for proper product use.
In a product liability action, Section 85 of the Act addresses the liability of the service provider. To be liable under this section, the service provided must be deficient, faulty, inadequate, or imperfect, in addition to an act or negligence withholding any information that is responsible for the harm caused, a lack of adequate warnings and instructions, and conformance to express warranty or contractual terms.
If a seller exercises substantial control over the manufacturing, testing, design, labelling, or packaging of a product, the seller will be held liable in a product liability case. The injury was the result of a significant alteration or modification. The vendor of the product provided an explicit guarantee that was distinct from the manufacturer’s warranty. The manufacturer neglected to properly maintain, assemble, and inspect the product.
Authorities of Consumer Dispute Resolution Forums:
A complainant can now submit a complaint in his or her city or state of residence or employment. The repealed Act restricted the complainant’s ability to register a complaint to the other party’s place of business or residence.
Instead of the compensation sought under the repealed Act of 1986, monetary jurisdiction will henceforth be determined by the amount paid for the value of products acquired and services obtained. Additionally, the 2019 Act increased the monetary jurisdiction limit for the various commissions. The District Commission will now manage cases with a maximum value of one crore rupees, up from 20 lakhs rupees under the repealed Act. The pecuniary jurisdiction limit of the State Commission has been set between 1 crore and 10 crores, whereas the National Commission will manage cases worth more than 10 crores.
Alternate dispute resolution:
If the Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum believes that the consumer dispute can be resolved through mediation, it may recommend that the parties participate in mediation. For the purpose of mediation, the State Government shall establish a consumer mediation division for each District Commission and State Commission. The Central Government will establish a consumer mediation cell to assist the National Commission. According to the regulations, the consumer mediation cell is responsible for maintaining a list of empanelled mediators, a record of proceedings, and other information. Additionally, the cell is required to submit a quarterly report to the commission to which it belongs.
Who may submit a grievance?
The following parties may file a case with a District Commission, State Commission, or National Commission:
The consumer; or Any recognised consumer association; or Group of consumers with the same interest, on behalf of or for the benefit of all consumers so interested; or The Central Authority, the State Government, or the Central Government, as applicable.
How can a complaint be filed?
Complaints concerning violations of consumer rights, unfair trade practises, or false or misleading advertisements that are detrimental to the interests of consumers as a group may be submitted in writing or electronically to the District Collector, the Commissioner of Regional Office, or the Central Authority.
Section 21 grants the Central Authority the authority to issue directives and impose penalties for false or misleading advertisements.
Additional essential aspects of the law:
The Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, which are mandatory rather than advisory, outline all pertinent information for e-commerce enterprises, taking both the consumer and the product/service provider into consideration.
According to Rule 5, e-commerce entities must provide consumers with information regarding return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment, modes of payment, grievance redressal system, payment methods, security of payment methods, charge-back alternatives, and country of origin.
These platforms must acknowledge receipt of consumer complaints within 48 hours and rectify the issue within one month. Additionally, they must appoint a grievance officer to handle client complaints.
If the goods or services are defective, inadequate, or delivered late, or if they do not match the platform’s description, sellers cannot refuse to take returns, withdraw services, or deny refunds.
Additionally, the laws prohibit e-commerce businesses from altering the prices of their products or services in order to generate a disproportionate profit.
In accordance with Rule 7 of the Consumer Protection (Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions) Rules, 2020, which went into effect on July 20, 2020, there is no fee required for filing a complaint with the District Commission up to Rs 5 lakhs.
The quantity owed to consumers who cannot be identified will be credited to the Consumer Welfare Fund (CWF).
Quarterly, State Commissions will report vacancies, dispositions, case status, and other information to the Central Government.
The Central Consumer Protection Council Rules govern the establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Council (CCPC) in addition to these general guidelines.
It would be a consumer advisory council led by the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution, with the Minister of State serving as Vice Chairman and 34 other professionals serving as members.
It will consist of two consumer affairs ministers from each of the five regions: North, South, East, West, and North-East. It will have a three-year tenure.
ARE YOU PLANNING TO LITIGATE UNDER THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT OR ARE YOU CURRENTLY INVOLVED IN A CONSUMER CONTROVERSY?
The attorneys at The Law Code, Gurgaon – NCR, are experts in cases involving violations of consumer rights. Our top consumer court attorneys in Gurgaon – NCR provide expert counsel on a variety of consumer law-related issues. As competent legal counsels, we offer the highest quality services in consumer-related litigation.
TLC, Gurgaon – NCR’s mission is to provide a one-stop law firm for all consumer rights disputes in India. Our seasoned Gurgaon – NCR consumer court attorneys at TLC assist clients with active litigation support and consumer rights violation claims before various Indian forums. The leading consumer forum advocates at The Law Codes, Gurgaon – NCR, are committed to educating all parties regarding consumer rights.
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