CONSUMER COURT LAWYERS IN CHANDIGARH
The “consumer” is a beginning point for all economic activities, its importance has always been recognized in the development of markets throughout the world, and the exercise of constitutional/statutory rights by citizens/consumers become extremely important to ensure the fast pace of a booming economy. This concept had been understood by almost all the countries for centuries, but for a long time in world history, the protection of a consumer was not given much importance. It was primarily dealt with by civil courts under the Contract Law that took considerable time in disposing of the matter. Only in the instance of egregious carelessness was the seller held liable for the quality of the products consumers purchased in the past.
Brief History of Consumer protection laws:
In 1947, Denmark established the first consumer association, followed by the United Kingdom in 1953. In the late 1950s, there was a consumer movement emerged in Europe. Former US President John F. Kennedy acknowledged four essential consumer rights for the first time in 1962. The Consumer Movement in India was aided, that is why the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 was enacted. Because the previous Act was insufficient to defend consumers’ interests, the new Consumer Protection Act of 2019 was enacted, and it went into effect on July 20, 2020.
Data from World Economic Forum (WEF) & introduction of Consumer Laws in India:
According to the World Economic Forum, India is on track to become the third-largest consumer market by 2030, with a GDP growth rate of 7.6%. When calculating these rankings, a number of factors must be considered, one of which is consumer happiness, which is contingent on the existence of laws that support it. The Consumer Protection Act, 1986, was enacted in order to further safeguard customers’ rights. There was no special law safeguarding consumers prior to the enactment of this Act, and the only remedy open to customers was to file a civil complaint about damages against the shopkeeper or service provider under the Law of Torts.
After three decades, the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 has been repealed and replaced by the Consumer Protection Act of 2019. In the age of digitization, the Consumer Protection Act of 2019 was enacted with the goal of broadening the scope of consumer rights to include e-commerce, direct selling, teleshopping, and other multi-level marketing. The Act took effect on July 20, 2020. By applying stiffer penalties, this Act intends to modernize the settlement and administration procedures.
Who is a consumer?
According to Section 2(7) of the 2019 Act, a consumer is anyone who buys things or receives services for a fee and includes anyone other than someone who uses those services or goods for the purpose of resale or commercial usage. According to the definition’s explanation, “buys any things” and “hires or avails any services” encompasses all online transactions conducted through electronic means, as well as direct selling, teleshopping, and multi-level marketing. This legislation has a special feature of online transactions, which was adopted in response to the rising e-commerce industry and technological advancements. Still, have questions regarding who is a consumer? You can contact the top consumer court lawyers in Chandigarh at The Law Codes, to help you in the matter pertaining to consumer law.
What are your rights and duties as a consumer?
The Consumer Protection Act recognizes six consumer rights, including:
- Right to Safety;
- Right to Information;
- Right to Choose;
- Right to be heard;
- Right to Redressal;
- Right to Consumer Awareness.
Unfair trade practices under the 2019 Act:
Unfair trade practice is defined under Section 2(47) of the Consumer Protection Act of 2019. The term “unfair trade practice” has been expanded to cover actions such as:
- manufacturing or selling counterfeit goods or using deceptive practices to provide service;
- failing to issue a proper cash memo or bill for the services rendered and the goods sold;
- refusing to withdraw, take back, or discontinue defective goods and services and refund the consideration taken within the time period stipulated in the bill or within 30 days- if the bill does not contain such a provision;
- disclosing personal information of the consumer.
The term of unfair trade practice under the abolished Act of 1986 did not cover online misleading marketing, which was incorporated in the 2019 Act. Have you found yourself on the receiving end of unfair trade practices? You can contact the best consumer court lawyers in Chandigarh at The Law Codes, to help you to fight your legal battles.
Unfair Contract under the Act 2019:
The New Act has added the concept of an “unfair contract”, which refers to contracts that benefit manufacturers or service providers over customers’ interests. A separate consumer right is the “right to terminate unjust contracts.” A consumer can now register a complaint in this regard. This would assist to keep a check on firms, such as banks and e-commerce sites that abuse their market power by requiring defenseless people to sign unjust contracts and accept their standard conditions before selling them things or delivering services. Are you dealing with an unfair contract? You can contact the top consumer court lawyers in Chandigarh at The Law Codes, to help you in your legal matters.
Establishment of Central Consumer Protection Authority:
A Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) was established under the Act of 2019 to handle cases involving consumer rights violations, misleading or false ads, unfair trade practices, and consumer rights enforcement. The members of the CCPA shall be appointed by the central government.
Penalties for a misleading advertisement:
One of the numerous issues dealt with by the Act of 2019 is misleading and fraudulent advertising. The repealed Act does not address the issue of deceptive and false advertising. According to Section 2(28) of the Act, a false description of a product or service in any advertisement that coveys unfair practice is misleading under the scheme of the Act.
Section 21 (3) of the CCPA specifies that the endorser of any such misleading and fraudulent ads might be barred from endorsing any other products or services for a year. Section 21 (4) of the Act punishes anyone who publishes false and misleading ads by imposing a jail sentence or a fine of up to 10 lakh rupees. The publisher of any deceptive advertisements is also liable for the effect of such advertisements to be neutralized.
One of the notable and crucial moves contained in the 2019 Act is product liability. This notion is dealt with in detail in a separate chapter of the Act. If a complaint is harmed as a result of a defective product or service, he can file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, service provider, or seller. A product manufacturer will be held accountable under Section 84 of the Act if the product has a manufacturing fault, is defective in design, does not follow manufacturing requirements, does not comply with an implied guarantee, and does not include adequate instructions for proper product use.
In a product liability action, Section 85 of the Act discusses the service provider’s liability. To be liable under this section, the service provided must be deficient, faulty, inadequate, or imperfect, as well as an act or negligence withholding any information that is responsible for the harm caused, as well as a lack of adequate warnings and instructions, as well as conformance to express warranty or contractual terms.
If a product seller exercises substantial control over the product’s manufacturing, testing, design, labeling, or packaging, the seller will be responsible in a product liability case. There was a significant alteration or modification that resulted in the injury. The product seller provided an explicit guarantee that differed from the manufacturer’s warranty. The product vendor failed to maintain, assemble, or check the product with reasonable care.
Jurisdictions of Consumer Dispute Redressal Forums:
A complainant can now file a complaint in the city or state where he or she lives or works. The repealed Act limited the complainant’s ability to file a complaint to the location where the other party conducts business or resides.
Rather than the compensation sought under the repealed Act of 1986, the pecuniary jurisdiction will henceforth be decided by the consideration paid for the value of goods acquired and services obtained. The 2019 Act also enhanced the pecuniary jurisdiction limit for the several commissions. The District Commission will now handle matters worth up to one crore rupees, up from the previous limit of Rs. 20 lakhs under the repealed Act. The State Commission’s pecuniary jurisdiction limit has been set at Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 10 crores, while the National Commission will handle cases worth more than Rs. 10 crores.
Alternate dispute resolution:
The Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum may recommend the parties to mediation with their cooperation if it appears to the Forum that the consumer dispute can be resolved through mediation. The State Government shall create a consumer mediation cell for each District Commission and State Commission for the purpose of mediation. The National Commission will be aided by a consumer mediation cell established by the Central Government. According to the regulations, the consumer mediation cell will be responsible for maintaining a list of empanelled mediators, cases handled by the cell, a record of proceedings, and other information. The cell is also required to provide a quarterly report to the commission to which it is affiliated.
Who can file a complaint?
The case may be filed with a District Commission or State Commission or National Commission by—
- The consumer; or Any recognized consumer association; or
- Group of the consumer having 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 the case may be.
How to file a complaint?
A complaint relating to a violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, or false or misleading advertisements that are prejudicial to the interests of consumers as a group may be forwarded to any of the authorities, namely the District Collector, the Commissioner of Regional Office, or the Central Authority, in writing or electronically.
The Central Authority has been given the authority to issue directives and impose penalties for false or misleading advertisements under Section 21.
Other important aspects of the law:
The Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, which are mandatory rather than advisory, lay out all relevant information for e-commerce businesses, taking into account both the consumer and the product/service provider.
- Consumers must be given information about 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, according to Rule 5, by the e-commerce entities.
- These platforms must acknowledge receipt of any consumer complaint within 48 hours of receipt and resolve the issue within one month of receipt. They also have to appoint a grievance officer to deal with client complaints.
- If the goods or services are defective, deficient, or delivered late, or if they do not meet the platform’s description, sellers cannot refuse to accept returns, withdraw services, or refuse reimbursements.
- The laws also ban e-commerce enterprises from altering the pricing of goods or services in order to make a disproportionate profit.
- The amount of fee due for submitting a complaint with the District Commission up to Rs 5 lakhs has been made Nil pursuant to Rule 7 of the Consumer Protection (Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions) Rules, 2020, which came into force on July 20, 2020.
- The amount due to unidentified consumers will be credited to the Consumer Welfare Fund (CWF).
- State Commissions will report vacancies, dispositions, case status, and other topics to the Central Government on a quarterly basis.
- In addition to these broad guidelines, the Central Consumer Protection Council Rules govern the establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Council (CCPC).
- It would be a consumer advisory board led by the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, with the Minister of State serving as Vice Chairperson and 34 other members from other professions.
- It will have a three-year term and will include two consumer affairs ministers from each of the five regions: North, South, East, West, and North-East.
ARE YOU GOING TO LITIGATE UNDER CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT OR FINDING YOURSELF IN THE MIDDLE OF A CONSUMER DISPUTE?
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