- 1 Meaning of Consumer Protection Act
- 2 Importance Of Consumer Protection Act
- 2.1 (A) From the consumer’s point of view
- 2.2 (B) From the Business point of view
- 3 Legal Protection to Consumers
- 3.1 Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (CPA, 1986)
- 3.2 Scope of the Act
- 3.3 The Indian Contract Act, 1872
- 3.4 The Sale of Goods Act, 1930
- 3.5 The Essential Commodities Act, 1955
- 3.6 The Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act, 1937
- 3.7 Adulteration Act, 1954
- 3.8 The Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976
- 3.9 The Trade Marks Act, 1999
- 3.10 The Competition Act, 2002
- 3.11 The Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986
- 4 Consumer Rights
- 5 Consumer Responsibilities
- 6 Ways and Means of Consumer Protection Act
- 7 Redressal Agencies Under Consumer Protection Act
- 8 Relief Available through the Consumer Protection Act
- 9 Role of Consumer organizations and NGO’s
- 10 FAQs regarding the Consumer Protection Act
Meaning of Consumer Protection Act
• Consumer protection refers to protecting the buyer against anti-consumer trade, producer, or seller practices.
• Caveat emptor, which suggests, “Let the customer beware.”
• Caveat Venditor, which means “Let the seller beware.”
• Consumers are being exposed to risks due to exploitative and unfair trade practices like defective and unsafe products, adulteration, false and misleading advertising, hoarding, black marketing, etc.
• Therefore, there is a need to provide adequate protection for consumers against such practices.
Importance Of Consumer Protection Act
(A) From the consumer’s point of view
The majority of consumers are not aware of their rights and reliefs available to them as a result of which they are continuously exploited. To save lots of consumers from exploitation, the consumer protection act is required.
In India, consumers are still disorganized, and there is a lack of consumer organizations that act in their interests.
Widespread consumer exploitation
Consumers are exploited on ina large scale employing various unfair trade practices, and the consumer protection act is required to protect them from exploitation.
(B) From the Business point of view
Long-term business interest
It is always within the interest of the business to stay its customer satisfied. Global competition might be won only after satisfying customers. Consumer Protection Act satisfied customers cause repeat sales and thus helps in increasing the customer base of the business.
Business uses Resources of Society
Every company uses the resources of society, and thus, it is their responsibility to work in society’s interest.
A company has social responsibilities towards various groups like owners, workers, government, customers, etc. Thus, customers should be provided with quality goods at reasonable prices.
It’s the moral duty of any business to act in favor of consumer’s interest and avoid any form of exploitation and unfair trade practices like defective & unsafe products, pollution, false and misleading advertising, hoardings black marketing, etc.
If a business engages in any sort of unfair trade practices, the government will take action against it, which will adversely affect its goodwill. Consumer Protection Act.
Legal Protection to Consumers
Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (CPA, 1986)
Set up to protect and promote consumer’s interests through a speedy and inexpensive redressal of grievances.
Recognizes consumer rights and safeguard their interests.
A three-tier redressal agency to address consumer grievances has been set up constituting District Forums, State, and national commissions. Consumer Protection Act.
Scope of the Act
It applies to all types of undertaking:
• Large and small scale
• Private, public and co-operative sector
• Manufacturer or trader
• Firms supplying goods as well as services
The Indian Contract Act, 1872
The Act lays down the conditions on the applicability of an agreement signed by the parties to the contract and specifies the remedies in case of breach of contract.
The Sale of Goods Act, 1930
The Act provides some safeguards and reliefs to the buyers.
The Essential Commodities Act, 1955
This Act provides for action against anti-social activities of profiteers, hoarders, and black marketers. It aims at controlling the production, supply, and distribution of essential commodities.
The Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act, 1937
The Act prescribes grade standards for agricultural commodities and livestock products.
Adulteration Act, 1954
This Act aims to check adulteration of food articles and ensure their purity to maintain public health.
The Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976
It protects consumers against the malpractice of under-weight or under-measure.
The Trade Marks Act, 1999
This Act prevents the use of fraudulent marks on the product.
The Competition Act, 2002
The Act protects the consumers in case of practices adopted by business firms.
The Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986
The Office has two main activities: formulation of quality standards for products and their certification through the BIS certification scheme.
Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has provided six rights to the consumers, which are as follows:
Right to Safety
The consumer has the right to be protected against products and services that are hazardous to health and life. E.g., ISI certification for electronic items.
Right to be Informed
The consumer has the right to have complete information about the product before buying it.
Right to choose
The consumer has a right to choose any product out of the available products as per his/ her interests.
Right to be heard
The consumer has the right to file a complaint in case of dissatisfaction with goods or services (use of grievance cell).
Right to Seek Redressal
The consumer has the right to get relief in case the product or service falls short of consumer’s expectations or is dangerous. The consumer may be provided with replacement/removal of defect or compensation for any loss.
Right to consumer education
The consumer has the proper to accumulate knowledge and to be informed throughout life. He should be made conscious of his rights and reliefs available to him just in case of the merchandise or service falls in need of its exceptions.
The Government of India has included consumer education within the school curriculum and is making use of mass media to form consumers conscious of their rights.
A consumer has to follow specific responsibilities while purchasing, using, and consuming goods.
1. Be aware of the various products in the market so that an intelligent and wise choice can be made.
2. Buy only regulated goods as they supply quality assurance. Thus, search for ISI mark on electrical goods, FPO mark on food products, Hallmark on jewelry, etc.
3. Follow instructions about the product, learn about the risks associated with products, and use them safely.
4. Read labels carefully to gain information about prices, net weight, manufacturing and expiry dates, etc.
5. Assert yourself to ensure that you get a fair deal.
6. Be honest in your dealings and purchase only legal goods and services and discourage unscrupulous practices like black marketing, hoarding, etc.
7. Ask for a cash memo on the purchase of products or services. This would serve as proof of the investment made.
8. File a complaint at an appropriate consumer forum, in the event of a deficiency in the quality of goods purchased or services available. Be sure to take action, even when the amount involved is small.
9. Form consumer societies that would play an active part in educating consumers and safeguarding their interests.
10. Respect the environment.
Ways and Means of Consumer Protection Act
Self Regulation by Business
Firms give importance to corporate social responsibility and follow ethical standards and practices in dealing with their customers.
FICCI and CII have laid down their code of conduct, laying down the guidelines for their members regarding their dealings with the customers.
A well-informed consumer would be able to raise his voice against any unfair trade practices.
It plays an essential role in educating consumers about their rights and providing protection.
The government protects the interests of the consumers by enacting various protective measures.
Redressal Agencies Under Consumer Protection Act
Who can file a complaint under CPA, 1986
A complaint before the acceptable consumer forum is often made by:
1. Any consumer.
2. Any registered consumer association.
3. The central or government.
4. One or more consumers on behalf of various consumers having an equivalent interest.
5. A legal heir or representative of a deceased consumer.
6. A complaint under Section 2 (b) of the Consumer Protection Act 1986
For the redressal of consumer grievances, the Act provides three-tier machinery as:
District forums are found out in each district by the State concerned. The essential features are:
(a) It consists of a President and two members, one among whom should be a lady, duly appointed by State Govt.
(b) the worth of the products or services in question, alongside the compensation claimed, doesn’t exceed Rs. 20 lakhs.
(c) On receiving the complaint, the district forum shall refer the complaint to the other party concerned and send the products or samples for testing during a laboratory.
(d) After being satisfied that products are defective or there is some unfair trade practice, the district forum can issue an order to opposite party directing to either replace or return the worth or pay compensation.
Consumer Protection Act just in case the aggrieved party isn’t satisfied with the district forum’s law, they can appeal before the state forum within 30 days of passing a law.
It’s set up in each State by the government. The salient features are:
(a) Each commission consists of a president and at least 2 members appointed by State Government and one should be a woman.
(b) the worth of the products or services, along side the compensation claimed, exceeds Rs. 20 lakhs but doesn’t exceed Rs. 1 crore.
(c) On receiving the complaint, the state commission also can refer the complaint to the opposite party and send the goods for testing in the laboratory.
(d) After being satisfied, the state commission can order the opposing party to either replace or pay or pay compensation. Consumer Protection Act In case the aggrieved party is not happy. They can appeal before the national commission within 30 days of passing an order.
It is set up by Central Govt. The provisions of Act are:
(a) It consists of a President, and at least 4 members appointed by the Central Government, one of them should be a woman.
(b) All complaints are about goods and services along with the compensation value of more than Rs. 1 crore can be filed with the national commission.
(c) Upon receiving the complaint, the national commission can refer it to the opposite party and send goods for testing.
(d) The National Commission has the power to issue orders for replacing the product, paying the compensation for the loss, etc.
Relief Available through the Consumer Protection Act
• Remove defect in goods and deficiency in services.
• Replace defective goods with a new one with no defects
• Refund price paid
• Pay a reasonable amount of compensation for any loss or injury suffered.
• Pay punitive damages in appropriate circumstances.
• Discontinue unfair/restrictive trade practice
• Not to offer hazardous goods and services for sale
• Withdraw of dangerous goods from sale
• Cease manufacturing hazardous goods
• Pay an amount to the consumer welfare fund (not but 5%) to be utilized within the prescribed manner.
• Issue corrective advertising to neutralize the effect of misleading ads.
• Pay adequate costs to parties.
Role of Consumer organizations and NGO’s
1. Educating the general public about consumer rights
2. Publishing periodical & other publications to inform consumers.
3. Providing legal assistance to consumers by giving legal advice etc.
4. Filing complaints inappropriate consumer courts on behalf of consumers.
5. Encouraging consumers to require action against unfair trade practices.
6. Taking the initiative in filing cases in consumer courts on behalf of consumers.
Some of the essential consumer organizations and NGOs engaged in protecting and
promoting consumers’ interests include the following.
(i) Consumer Coordination Council, Delhi
(ii) Common Cause, Delhi
(iii) Voluntary Organisation in Interest of Consumer Education (VOICE), Delhi
(iv) Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC), Ahmedabad
(v) Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Ahmedabad
(vi) Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI), Mumbai
(vii) Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, Mumbai
(viii) Karnataka Consumer Service Society, Bangalore
(ix) Consumers’ Association, Kolkata
(x) Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS), Jaipur
Author- Pratap ChaudhariOwner of Nokriwale website
FAQs regarding the Consumer Protection Act
How many sections are there in Consumer Protection Act?
The interests of consumers are sought to be promoted and protected under the Act inter alias by the establishment of Consumer Protection Councils at the Central, State and District Levels. According to the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 comprising Sections 4 to 8 deals with Consumer Protection Councils.
Who is a consumer under Consumer Protection Act?
“consumer” means any person who,—
buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any user of such goods other than the person.
When was Consumer Protection Act passed?
In 1986, Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted in 1986 to protect the interests of consumers in India.
Who is not a consumer under Consumer Protection Act 1986?
The term ‘for resale’ implies that the goods are brought for the purpose of selling them, and the expression ‘for commercial purpose’ is intended to cover cases other than those of resale of goods. Basically, those consumer buy goods for purpose of resale is not a consumer.