Home Speak to a lawyer Meet a lawyer Flat fee services About Blog Careers Contact Us Terms & Conditions Privacy Policy Legal Topics
Blog
Recent Post

Get Legato App on your mobile.

Shortcomings of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019
  • By: admin
  • Date: 25 Jul 2020
  • Consumer Grivances
  • Comments:
  • Views:163
  • Likes:

As with changing times and situation, it is very important to provide the equipment’s necessary to resolve and progress, as in the country with 1.3 billion consumers and therefore it was a priority to come with the new Consumer law that will help and provide remedies to advance and complex cases that arise before the court of law. Although every new legislation brings with it its own bright and dark sides, it also becomes important to understand the darker part of the legislation.

Drawbacks

Following are the shortcoming or drawbacks that are understood to be the part of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

  1. The Act provides relief for the paid service and does provide or even mentions any service that is provided for free of cost as charity or as a social responsibility. The Act does not include services such as clinical treatment or treatment in a hospital where service is provided free of cost to the patients, and it also left to mention the duty of the government department or services provided by the government unregulated such as sanitation, water supply, etc.
  2. The Act fails to provide any prohibition or any strict liability for any person offering for any goods that are hazardous for the public at large when put to use, the calluses mentioned provides the safety of the consumer from such products being marketed in public. These goods that are marketed should be done in the procedure laid down in the Act, but it remains silent on the consequences if there is a violation of the rules.
  3. A consumer as stated by the Act is one who consumes the service offered by a seller in consideration by any other way, but the Act only protects the interest of those consumers who have suffered a loss or damages due to unfair trade practices or by the Act in a contravention by the trader. The Act says nothing about the unfair practices or has not provided the legal back up to the rule of protection of consumer from any unfair trade practices.
  4. The all-new consumer legislation increasing the scope of the applicant to the district forum does not provide a wider scope of authority by not providing the powers to order interim injunction or cease and desist order as quick resolution till the pending matter.
  5. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 does not or will not entertain any complaint or will not allow any person to lodge a complaint under the Act if such person can resort to any alternate remedy or dispute resolution mechanism provided in this behalf.
  6. The Act provides complete relief by not holding the chief executive, managing director or manager of any organization which is the part at default in providing the services as per the Act, it also specifies a time frame for expediting the process of resolution that is 90 days per se, but such process takes time longer than mentioned.
  7. Apart from many rights provided by the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 under section 6 such as Right to Choose, Right to Safety, Right to be Informed, Right to Redress and Right to Consumer Education but it completely remains silent on the Right to Safe and Healthy Environment for the consumer.
  8. The reality of the situation is far from the idea of justice. The Legislation is failed at the stage of implementation, and its execution is rather difficult to root out. A large number of pending cases at the Court and slow process of the court is a complex problem that is needed to be dealt with. Moreover, the Act has failed to provide the redressal forums with authority to remedy the situation and serious consequence if there is any violation of the court orders. 
  9. The authority under the Consumer Protection of Act, 2019 has widened the range of the District forums for accepting the complaints with regards to pecuniary jurisdiction, but the problems stand where there come issues of application and compliances of rules and regulations, the personnel department of the District Forum has very few members to work these results in the burden of the workload, there were issues regarding the space provided for carrying out the adjudication activity.
  10. The Act provides mediation as an alternate dispute resolution then resorting to the redressal forums, whereas mediation in itself remains futile to remedy the situation where the complaint is regarding defective goods or if there is the deficiency of service from the service provider. The common understanding among the consumer is usually to resolve the dispute without resorting for institutional help so mediation as an expressed provision will be of no better help it can though used for any disputes where the claim is higher it might be beneficial for such monetary compensation or performances. The Act remained silent on the issues regarding medical negligence, which should be a matter that can be referred to mediation, but such proviso has not been made in the Act.

Conclusion

Considering the Act and its application, it becomes a valid argument to support it. However, the government should focus on empowering the workforce needed for satisfying the true letter and spirit of the Act. The Act is to be read in a way that should suffice the requirement of not just the consumers who could afford to bear the burden of litigation but also who need quick hand remedy for those whose claims rather not so time-consuming.

The government should consider the movement of the consumer in its entirety to reduce the problem with the help of expensive infrastructure dealing redressal and should cover every aspect of goods and services wherever there is a need to curb the unfair practices and not just the areas which can be covered. The Act with its new provision has obviously a catalyst to prohibiting the Act of unfair and deceptive practice but some future amendments as mentioned the above article will make it better in its application and results.

The Windows update prank can easily trick someone when opened in full screen. It looks and acts like a real install page.

Read More

Tougher rules for the E-Commerce Industry

By: admin Consumer Grivances 25 Jul 2020

Online shopping is the new normal for everyone. Now that the deadly virus has hit the country, there has been a shift in the consumer of the practice of purchasing online as it’s much easier and convenient. After the ban of 59 Chinese apps by the Indian government, the Indian people are now dependent on Amazon, Flipkart etc. E-commerce is majorly used by the people as it allows a consumer even to return the product easily when the product is defective or unsatisfactory.

The initiative is taken to bring the digital economy of India at a higher position by introducing several norms and rules that will help in giving better competition and products in the Indian market. However, an official gazette for the same is yet to be released, but the implications and changes have to be made by the online platforms at the earliest.

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, which replaced the old rules of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has also taken into consideration of the e-commerce industry. According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan, new guidelines for e-commerce will be released in the coming week for better redressal and communication with the consumers. The e-commerce platforms are required to setup a robust consumer redressal mechanism as part of the rules under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 that is effective from July 20, 2020. Through the help of video conferencing, Ram Vilas Paswan also informed about the new rules and incoming guidelines that will be effective from the next week.

Changes in the Structure

As per the new rules for Consumer Protection Act, 2019, the e-commerce entities will be required to provide every detail to its consumer. The platform is required to give details regarding the return, refund, exchange, guarantee and warranty, delivery and shipment, modes of payment a consumer can pay through, a grievance redressal mechanism, security of payment methods, and also information about chargeback options if available.

For a better decision making of the purchaser, the online entities are required to mention the country of origin for every product so that the consumer is informed about the originality of the product before purchasing it.  Under the new Act formulated, a receipt has to be acknowledged by the online entities for any consumer complaint is essential within forty-eight hours and the complaint has to be redressed within a month from the date of the receipt. The e-commerce entity is also responsible to appoint a grievance officer for consumer grievance redressal.

Mandatory Rules and not just Norms

The most important thing is that these rules are not merely advisories, but are mandatory for every online business that are happening through e-commerce. It is the first time that such tougher rules have been introduced by the government regarding e-commerce entities.

Apart from all this, the shoppers can get relaxed as the new rules mention that, charging cancellation fees from the consumer when he/she cancels the order after purchasing it is wrong and is not permitted under the new Act. If the sellers tend to do so, then they are required to pay the similar charges to the purchaser too, when the seller cancels the order unilaterally for any reason which will be notified in the official gazette once released. When communicated with the e-commerce executives, they informed that such change will give “better defined” legal power to the consumers to go and fight against the counterfeit products or any other grievances in the court.

A difference in the new proposed model is also explained between the marketplace model and inventory model. In a marketplace model, all the goods are listed and sold by the third-party, whereas in an inventory model, the platform stocks goods and then sell online. 

The new draft of rules under Consumer Protection Act, 2019 also mentions that “Any inventory e-commerce entity which explicitly or implicitly vouches for the authenticity or reality of the goods and services sold by it, or guarantees that such goods and services are authentic is requested to bear appropriate liability in any action related to the authenticity of such good or service.”

Perfect competition should be followed, and there should be no manipulation of the prices by the e-tailers or sellers in the market. The sellers are also requested to not refuse to take back goods, discontinue services or stop refunds if the products are found to be defective, fake, delivered late or looked entirely different from description on the platform.

As snapdeal is one of the major online running businesses, its executive came forward and spoke about how these new rules for consumer protection will help in healthy business of e-commerce and as well as safeguard the interest of the consumers. He further mentioned, “While we are in the process of examining the provisions of the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules 2020, Snapdeal is fully supportive of all measures that enhance protection for the consumers, provide a level playing field to sellers and enable healthy growth of the e-commerce sector in India.”

Conclusion

Recently, the ban of dozens of apps of the Chinese technology has made the government reluctant about the rules and norms that every e-commerce platform has to adhere to if they want to trade their market in India. The issuance of fresh guidelines by the government under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is a step towards making the consumer the king even in the online commerce domain. Such guidelines will help in to invoke healthy competition in the market with a sense of accountability and trust provided to the consumers.

According to recent reports, one out of every four-member is the consumer who buys a product online and therefore; it was the need of the hour to bring in such norms and rules that eliminate counterfeit products from the market and also encourages speedy redressal of consumer grievances.

Shoppers can now expect to get their life easier when the online platforms would implement these norms in serving a consumer.

Read More
Comments:
Views: 156
Likes:

The consumer is the King in 2020

By: admin Consumer Grivances 21 Jul 2020

New laws and provisions have been formulated by the government to safeguard the interest of the consumers in the market. In a country like India, consumers are always tagged as kings of the market, but the question is, are the consumers given authorities and powers as a king has over its throne? The answer to this was a big “no” a few years ago, but today, the scenario has been changed, and finally, the king of the market, has been granted the right powers and authorities through the formation of Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 has replaced the three-decades-old Consumer Protection Act, 1986, which mainly eases the procedure to file complaints by the consumers and gives higher protection the consumer dealing in the market.

With this, the new Consumer Protection Act 2019 seeks to revamp the process of settlement and administration of consumer disputes, with strict penalties, including jail term for adulteration and counterfeit products. It will also cover any misleading advertisements by the firms.

Consumer Protection Act, 2019

Before going further, what the new law speaks and implements, its first important to know how the transformation of a “bill” to an “act” took place. The Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan introduced the “Consumer Protection Bill, 2019” in the Rajya Sabha also known as Upper House of the Parliament on July 8, 2019. The Lok Sabha then passed the bill on July 30, 2019, and was later cleared by the Rajya Sabha on August 6, 2019. On August 9, the bill was signed by the President Ram Nath Kovind. It came into effect on July 20, 2020.

The government of India has notified the country, regarding most of the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 which will come to effect on July 20, 2020. To keep the consumers happy and in focus, the newly implemented law will ensure that complaints can be lodged at a district or state consumer commission from the site where the complainant resides rather than from where the service or product was bought.

The provisions which have come up by the government covers consumer protection councils, mediation, consumer dispute redressal forum, the liability of products or services, the penalty for manufacturing, distributing, selling, etc. products which contain adulterant or spurious goods.

The new laws of the Act will allow the consumers to drag to court if manufacturers, distributors or sellers are found dealing with the adulterated or spurious goods. The consumers can also lodge complaints in consumer claiming compensation for any counterfeit products or the wrong ones from the manufacturers.

Under situations where the consumer is not injured, the court can give compensation of Rs. 1 lakh to the consumers or award six months of Jail under the provisions laid down by the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. In cases where the consumer is injured, the fine to the seller, manufacturer, or the distributor could be upto Rs. 5 lakh and upto 7 years in jail. If in a situation, the consumer dies, then a minimum fine of Rs 10 Lakh and seven years in jail can be imposed, which may be extended to life imprisonment. Any provisions regarding direct selling or online services are yet to be made by the government, which may come in the next two or three weeks. The provisions relating to the constitution of an apex Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) at the national level also remain to be notified by the government.

The CCPA will make interventions to prevent the consumer from unfair trade practices. The agency can also initiate class action, which will include enforcing recalls, refunds and returns of products. The bill also promotes simplified dispute resolution process, which also has provision for mediation and e-filing of the cases. For mediation, there will be fixed timelines that will be released by the ministry. E-filing of cases will take place, and the requirement of a lawyer to produce will also be reduced.

Misleading advertisements is one of the most followed things by the common people. We often tend to fall for the advertisements that are fancy and exaggerating. The new bill introduced carries a provision for jail term and fine for manufactures. However, the celebrities who are a part of such advertisements will not be put behind bars, though there are chances that they will be banned if something wrong is endorsed by them, which is misleading. A major change in the bill is the formulation of product liability. For the first time, the product liability is introduced where the manufacturer or the service provider or the product seller will be liable to compensate the injured consumer for the defective product or deficiency in services.

The consumer commissions at district, state and national level will entertain complaints, and on the other hand, the CCPA will be able to take suo moto action and forward cases to National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission for class action lawsuit where a large number of consumers are affected.

Conclusion  

The relationship of a seller and a buyer is very fragile and therefore needs proper protection which safeguards the interest of both the parties. To give the consumer, the title of King, it's important to implement such laws and policies, which makes sure that every consumer in the market is the decider and the king. The addition of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, in the already existing acts is proof that India is developing and such laws, will help to protect the relationship between a buyer and seller.

Read More
Comments:
Views: 186
Likes:

Unfair Trade Practice

By: admin Consumer Grivances 12 Feb 2020

The trade practice to promote the sale or use or supply of any goods or services by adopting an unfair method of deception is known as unfair trade practices. Until 2002, the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practice Act (MRTP) dealt with unfair trade practices in India. The Competition Act, 2002, repealed the MRTP Act. No provision was incorporated in the Competition Act to deal with unfair trade practice. But the effects to deal with unfair trade practices are given under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

The categorization of unfair practices goes as follows:

1. False Representation

The method of making a written or oral statement/representation of any product or services:

  • When the unfair trade practitioner falsely suggested that the goods are of a particular quality, standard quantity, grade, style, model or composition;
  • When it wrongly suggests that the services offered are of specific standard or quality;
  • When any re-built, second - hand, reconditioned old goods are falsely suggested as new goods;
  • When one falsely represents that the goods or services have approval, sponsorship, performance, characteristics, accessories, benefits or uses which the trader does not have;
  • When one represents that the seller or the supplier has approval or affiliation or sponsorship which they do not have;
  • When one makes a misleading or false representation concerning the need or the usefulness of goods or services;
  • When one gives any warranty or guarantee of the efficiency, performance, or life of the goods, not based on a proper or adequate test;
  • When the trader represents makes to the public, a representation in the form that indicates to be- 
  1. A Guarantee or warranty of the goods or services,
  2. A promise to maintain, repair or replace the goods until it achieves a specific result,
  3. Misleading the prices at which the goods and services are available in the market;
  4. Misleading the facts disparaging the goods and services of another person.

2. False Offer of Bargain Price

When an advertisement is published in a newspaper, offering the goods or services at the bargain price, and the service provider does not offer the product in the same price then it shall amount to unfair trade practice.

3. Schemes of Free Gifts Offer and Prize

Offering any gifts or prizes along with the goods when the real intention of the trader is different. They create the impression that something is offered free along with the goods when the price of the sold article partly or wholly covers the price of the product. For Example: Offering prizes by conducting the game, contest, lottery. It amounts to unfair trade practice.

4. Non-Compliance

If the goods do not comply with the standard of goods and services as prescribed by the competent authority, then it shall amount to the unfair trade practices. The standards prescribed include the performance, designs, contents, construction, composition, packaging, etc. of goods and services. It is necessary to prevent the risk of injury to the person using goods.

5. Hoarding, Destruction, Etc.

The practice of raising the cost of the products that are similar to other goods and services, which may result in the destruction of the services of the competitor, it will contribute to the unfair trade practices.

Unfair Trade Practices In Various Sectors:

In India, unfair trade practices have penetrated through the Food Processing Industry, Pharmaceutical Industry, Insurance, Education etc.

When welfare legislation like the Consumer Protection Act did not exist, the maxim ‘caveat emptor’ (let the buyer beware) was governed for the relations between consumers and traders. However, due to the opening of global markets, economies and progressive removal of restrictions on international trade, the maxim ‘caveat emptor’ is to be replaced by ‘let the seller beware’.

Read More
Comments:
Views: 187
Likes:

Jurisdiction of Consumer Redressal Forums

By: Adv. Jayatinn B. Laalwani Consumer Grivances 15 Jan 2020

The Indian economy has been growing since independence and reaching new standards year by year. A rapid growth in the economy has always resulted in surprising the existing market players with new refined and polished players, increasing the gravity of the competition among the vendors and urge of strengthening the position of the business either by profit or broad customer base. In such an area, where there is a cut-throat competition, it became essential to maintain the consumer’s safety. Sellers, in order to make more money, may use unethical practices that may put consumers at risk. In order to avoid the situation and promote consumer’s safety, the government of India came up with a law known as the Consumer Protection Act,1986. The Consumer Protection law came with the provisions conditioning sellers to sell goods and provide services in compliance with the law made on this behalf. Consumer Protection Act, 1986 established three different authorities at three different levels to regulate and resolve matters related to consumers, such authorities have received their powers from the Act, following are the three authorities:

  1. National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission.
  2. State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission.
  3. District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission.

 

Consumer Protection Act, 2019 has repealed the Consumer Act, 1986.

Jurisdiction of National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission

National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission is at the top of the hierarchy, and it works as a Redressal Forum as well as an appellate authority. It also plays a vital role in monitoring the activities of the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission and the District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission.

Jurisdiction of National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission is categorized under the following heads:

  1. Pecuniary: - The National Commission deals with matters that exceed the monetary limit of Rs. Ten crores and above.
  1. Territorial Jurisdiction:  The territorial jurisdiction expands to all states except the state of Jammu and Kashmir, but the person filing any complaint from outside the territory of India will not be entertained by the National Commission under this Act.
  1. Appellate Jurisdiction: - National Commission has an appellate authority that means it can entertain appeals against the orders issued by State and District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission. Any person intending to file an appeal before the National Commission can file it within the period of 30 days, condonation of delay will be allowed only if a proper justification is provided.
  1. Revisional Jurisdiction: - A revisional jurisdiction states that the National Commission can ask for the records of the State Commission in the situation of any decision provided by the State Commission is incorrect in the opinion of the National Authority. Following are the instances on which the National Commission can demand the records from State Commission:
  1. Whether the commission has exercised its jurisdiction beyond their authority
  2. Whether the commission has failed to exercise their jurisdiction entitled to them
  3. Whether the commission has exercised their jurisdiction illegally
  1. Review Jurisdiction: - National Commission can review its judgements if they are of the opinion that such judgement/ decision requires a revision.

Section 67 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, states that if any person who is not satisfied with the decision of National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission may appeal against such authority to the Supreme Court within the period of 30 days from the order. Any person wanting to file an appeal against the National Commission will only be entertained by

 

Jurisdiction of State Consumers Dispute Redressal Commission

State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission is established to resolve the matter related to consumers at the state level under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. Currently, there are 35 State Commissions in India.

Jurisdiction of State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission:

  1. Pecuniary Jurisdiction: - State Commission will entertain the matters where the cost of goods and services exceeds One CroreRs, but it won’t entertain or deal in any matters that exceed the cap limit of ten crores.
  1. Territorial Jurisdiction: - As far as the State Commission is concerned, it can deal in all the matters related to its geographical limits of the state.
  1. Appellate Jurisdiction: State Commission has been authorized by the Consumer Protection Act to deal and accept all the appeals against the order of the District Commission. Hence, any person who is aggrieved by the decision of the District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission can file an appeal in the State Commission within a period of 45 days. Delays can be condoned if any valid justification provided by the concerned person only at the discretion of the court. Any person wanting to file an appeal against the District Commission will only be entertained by the State Commission if such person deposits a minimum of 50% of the amount involved.
  1. Revisional Jurisdiction: The State commission can act as the revisional board for the records of the District Consumer Redressal Commission if the States Commission is of the opinion that District Commission has laid down a judgement that is not complying with the provisions of the law. Following are the following reason on the basis, State Commission can ask for the record:
  1. Whether the commission has exercised its jurisdiction beyond their authority.
  2. Whether the commission has failed to exercise its jurisdiction.
  3. Whether the commission has exercised its jurisdiction illegally.

 

Jurisdiction of District Consumer Redressal Commission

District Consumer Redressal Commission is the district level commission established under the Consumer Protection Act to resolve and regulate the matters dealing with district-level problems of the consumer.

Jurisdiction of the District Consumer Redressal Commission.

  1. Pecuniary Jurisdiction: District forum can entertain all the matters relating to the district level where the cost of transaction or goods and service is below One CroreRs. If the monetary amount exceeds Rs one crore, the matter will be filed in the State forum.
  1. Territorial Jurisdiction: As far as the territorial jurisdiction is concerned, the district forum can entertain all the matters related to or to the extent of its geographical limits.
  1. Appellate Jurisdiction: Being the lowest court in the hierarchy of the authorities according to the Consumer Protection Act, it does not have any appellate jurisdiction.
  1. Review Jurisdiction: - The District Commission has the power to review its own order if it is of the opinion that there is an apparent error in its order or in any application made by any parties, within a period of 30 days.

 

Statute of Limitation

Any person willing to file a suit under the Consumer Protection, 2019 will only be allowed or permitted if such person files the suit within the period of two years. The National Commission, State Commission and District Commission will provide condonation of delay at the discretion of the mentioned authority only under exceptional circumstances.

 

Case Laws

Rajeev Hitendra Pathak Vs Achyut Kashinath Karekar, (2011) 9 SCC 541

In this case, the main question which arose was ‘whether the District Commission and State Commission have the power to set aside their own ex-parte orders?’ It was held that the Statute does not provide any provision for exercising such powers. Hence the District and the State Commission cannot exercise power to set-aside their own ex-parte orders.

 

Coco-Cola Case(2016)

In the year 2007 Hanfi, bought the bottle of Coco-Cola and was admitted to the hospital for food poisoning. The bottle that he bought was found contaminated by fungus and insects, later to this act, MosoofHanfi moved the District Court, which gave its decision in his favour and the company was liable for a compensation of Rs. 50,000.

As the amount claimed by him was Rs.4 Lacs, he moved the State Commission of MP which also gave a decision in his favour. Appealing against the decision of State Commission, Coco-Cola filed a suit in the National Commission.  NCDRC dismissed the appeal of Coco-Cola giant filed against the order of Madhya Pradesh dispute redressal commission by awarding compensation to Masoof Ahmed Hanfi of Rs. 50,540 payable by the Company. 

 

Manjeet v/s National Insurance Company (2017)

‘A’ a person hired a truck from ‘B’ on hire purchase agreement which was insured for a year. One day as he was transporting the goods from one place to another in the truck, he saw few men asking for a lift, as the road had no other way for commutation he decided to help these people by giving them lift in his truck, after a while of a drive these men asked to halt the truck to sideways for nature’s call, as everyone alighted from truck these men assaulted the driver and tied his hand with a rope and stole the truck after the owner made claims to the insurance company for payment of insurance amount, insurance company disagreed with the claim stating that giving a lift to a stranger was beyond the provision of policy and performing of such act does not hold the insurance company liable to pay the amount. Repealing the arguments of the insurance company, Supreme Court decided that giving lift is a humanitarian gesture and such act does fundamentally nothing contrary to anything that states contrary to the provision of insurance. Justifying, the Supreme Court awarded monetary compensation in a way that insurance company would be liable to pay 75% of the total amount with interest of 9% P.A. to the appellant.      

 

Ms. Rajni Devi Vs Astha Hospital and Maternity (2019)

Rajni Devi was suffering from the medical problem (stones) in both her kidneys. She approached Astha Hospital for her medical treatment. The doctors of Astha hospital advised her to undergo surgery for removal of stones from the kidneys. The surgery was performed and Rs.60,000/- was charged. After discharge, she was suffering from the same pain which she had earlier before the surgery. She obtained ultrasound report and in that it was clearly seen that the stones were not removed properly. There was a deficiency in service. District Commission ordered to refund the sum of Rs. 60,000 with interest at the rate of 9% P.A from the date of complaint till the date of payment, Rs. 10,000 as an expenditure incurred for re-conducting operation, Rs. 3000 for litigation cost and Rs. 10,000 for mental agony. An Appeal was filed before State Commission by Rajni Devi for more compensation. The State Commission held that the District Commission had granted reasonable compensation for mental agony and harassment.

Read More
Comments:
Views: 879
Likes:

Consumer Protection Bill, 2019

By: Adv. Jayatinn B Laalwani Consumer Grivances 04 Oct 2019

On 30th July 2019, LokSabha passed the Consumer Protection Bill, 2019, which wholly replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The bill was introduced by the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in LokSabha to enact a new law for strengthening consumer rights in the modern market.  It proposes to set up a Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and forums at District, State and National level for the speedy redressal of the Consumer Complaints.

Key provisions of Bill:

  1. The Consumer Protection Bill is enacted to protect the interest of consumers with the means of redressal mechanism that would lead to the effective and speedy settlement of disputes.
  2. It seeks to enlarge the scope of existing law to be more effective.
  3. It empowers the Central Consumer Protection Authority to protect the rights of the consumer and to solve issues related to misleading and false acts. 
  4. It has the provision of an alternative dispute resolution mechanism in the form of mediation.

The objective of the Consumer Protection Bill:
The main aim of the bill is to ease the process of addressing the grievances to the Consumer Forums and to protect and enhance consumer rights.

Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) and its powers:
It is the National level regulator dealing the matters related to the violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices and misleading advertisement that are prejudicial to the consumer’s interest.  It is an investigation wing with the power of search and seizure the consumer-related matters under the head of Director-General. The District Collector is empowered to report the Central Consumer Protection Authority if they receive the massive consumer complaints in the particular jurisdiction. CCPA has the power to file a complaint before the relevant Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum. It also has the power to recall the goods that are deemed to be hazardous or dangerous to the consumers and practising unfair trade practices. It can impose penalties on manufacturers and endorses for misleading advertisement.

Penalties
The CCPA has the power to impose a penalty up to Rs. 10 Lakh and imprisonment up to 2 years for the false and misleading advertisement. Whereas, in case of a subsequent offence, the fine may extend to Rs.50 lakh and imprisonment for five years.

CCPA has the power to prohibit the endorser for endorsing the misleading advertisement on particular product and services for one year. Further for a subsequent offence, the period of prohibition may extend to three years.

Pecuniary jurisdiction:
The Bill has enhanced the pecuniary jurisdiction as follows:
  1. The District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission will entertain the complaints where the value of goods and services exceeds up to Rs. One Crore.
  2. The State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has the power to entertain the complaints where the value of goods and service are more than Rs. One crore but less than Rs. 10 Crore.
  3. The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission will entertain the complaints with the value of goods and services over Rs. 10 Crore.

E-Commerce: 
The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 refers to e-commerce as trading by using electronic technology, majorly internet services. As per the new Consumer Protection Act 2019, now all the rules applicable for direct selling will be extended to E-commerce. It will be liable to ensure that no counterfeits products are sold on the website.

Product Liability: 
The term product liability came into picture through the new Consumer Protection Act, 2019, as there was no specific statute dealing with the claims of product liability. Product liability is the liability of a service provider, the product manufacturer or seller who needs to compensate the consumer for any harm or injury caused by the defective product or services. The consumer has to prove any of the defect or deficiency in product to claim compensation.

  1. Product liability action for the manufacturer: The product should not contain the defect in its manufacturing, design, or there should not be any deviation from specifications in manufacturing the product. Also, the product should contain adequate instructions of usage to prevent any harm to the consumer. It should contain warnings regarding the improper usage of the product. Also, the warranty should be as per the standard rules and laws. 
  2. Product Liability for Service Provider: The liability for the service provider is that he should adequately monitor the quality or manner of performance as mandated under the law. Proper instructions and warnings must be issued by the service provider to prevent any harm.
  3. Product Liability for the seller: The product seller can alter or modify the product only to the extent until it is not harmful to the consumer. The seller of the product should ensure that the product or service is inspected properly before selling. He should provide adequate information to the consumers as described by the manufacturer.

Exceptions to product liability
The product manufacturer shall not be liable; 
  1. If he fails to instruct the consumer about the danger of a product which is expected to be commonly known to the user of the product. 
  2. If the consumer, while using the product, was under the influence of alcohol or any drug not prescribed by the medical practitioners, then the manufacturer is not liable for such product liability.
  3. For any harm, if the product is misused or altered.

Note: For earlier blog go on this link https://legatoapp.com/blog-in-detail.php?bp_id=65
Read More
Comments:
Views: 379
Likes:

Consumer Protection ACT, 1986

By: admin Consumer Grivances 30 Jul 2019

The enforcement of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is one of the most critical breakthroughs in the sphere of the consumer protection movement in India. It was a continuous and comprehensive piece of legislation of its time, covering all goods and services. The Act ensures the rights of the consumer and provides for a simple, speedy and inexpensive redressal to the consumers and also award compensation, wherever appropriate, to the consumer. An exclusive three-tier redressal system as an alternative to the civil court has been inculcated under the Act, wherein an aggrieved consumer can seek redressal against any defects in the goods purchased or deficiencies in services availed. It also includes restricting unfair trade practices if adopted by the trader of goods or the service provider. In the last thirty years, more than 4.3 million consumer cases were adjudicated and decided by the consumer forum.

Laws Protecting Consumers Under Different Regulations:

1. The Bureau of Indian Standards Act (2016) establishes the Bureau as the National Standards Body of India. Besides containing provisions for establishing voluntary standards, the Act also contains provisions to make compulsory certification regime of any article, process or service which it considers necessary from health, safety, environment, prevention of false practices, security etc. Several enabling provisions have also been made for hallmarking of the precious metal articles as mandatory. This Act allows multiple types of conformity assessment schemes, including Self Declaration of Conformity against any standard which provides simplified options to manufacturers to adhere to the standards and get a certificate of conformity. It authorises the Central Government to appoint any authority, in addition to the BIS, to verify the compliance of products and services to a standard and issue certificate of conformity.

2. The Legal Metrology Act 2009: The Act has come into force on 01.04.2011 and has repealed the Standards of Weights & Measures Act, 1976 & Standards of Weights & Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985. The Act ensures that all weight and measure used for trade or commerce or protection of human health and safety are accurate and secure so that users are guaranteed for correct Weighing and Measurement. The Act also empowers regulatory and enforcement actions for ensuring that the consumer gets the right quantity for which he has paid for.

3. The Essential Commodities Act 1955: The Act empowers the Government to regulate prices, production, supply, distribution etc. of essential commodities for maintaining or increasing their supplies and for securing their equitable distribution and availability at fair prices. Most of the powers under the Act have been delegated by the Central Government to the State Governments in the direction that they shall exercise these powers. Exercising powers under the Act, various Ministries/Departments of the Central Government and State Governments/UT Administrations have issued Control Orders for regulating the production, distribution, pricing etc. and trading of the commodities declared as essential to the public. At present, seven commodities have been retained under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 to protect the interests of the consumers, which include farmers, general population and the families below the poverty line.

4. Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS): It envisages regulation relating to the manufacture, distribution, storage, sale and the import of food articles to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption and consumers connected in addition to that. Authority by name Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under this Act for laying down scientific standards for foods articles. This Act was operational read with the notification of Food Safety and Standards Rules, 2011 and six Regulations w.e.f the 5 August 2011. The setting of food standards is undertaken through several Scientific Panels and the Scientific Committee of the FSSAI and final approval by the Authority.

5. The Contract Act, 1872 binds people on their promises, which are reduced to writing in a contract. In case of breach of contract, the Act also provides remedies available to parties.

6. The Sale of Goods Act, 1930: It provides for the safeguard and relief to customers in case goods not complying with the expressed conditions and warranty.

7. The Competition Act, 2002, governs Indian competition law. It succeeded in the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969. This Act established the Competition Commission of India to prevent the activities that have an adverse effect on competition in India. It acts as a tool to implement and enforce competition policy and to prevent and punish anti-competitive business methods by firms and unnecessary Government interference in the market. Competition law is equally applicable to writing as well as oral agreement, arrangements between the enterprises or persons.

8. The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act introduced in 1954: This Act controls the drugs-related advertisement in India by prohibiting the advertisements of drugs and remedies that claim to have magical traits and declares it as a cognizable offence. The Act further defines "magic remedy" as any talisman, amulet, mantra, or any other object, which is alleged to have miraculous powers to cure, diagnose, prevent or mitigate disease/illness. It also includes such devices that have the power to influence the structure or the function of an organ in humans or animals. It prohibits advertisements of drugs and remedies have magical properties and makes doing so a cognizable offence.

9. The Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940 governs the import, manufacture, and distribution of drugs in India. The primary aim of this act is to ensure that the drugs and cosmetics are safe for sale in India, and are effective as well as confirm the state quality standards. The Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 framed under the Act contain provisions for the different classes of drugs under given schedules, and also lays the guidelines for the storage, sale, display, and prescription of each schedule. It also defines the standards of quality for drugs and defines the term "misbranding". The drug is considered misbranded if it claims to be of more curative/therapeutic value than it is actually. Several times the manufacturer of such a drug may be asked to suspend manufacturing of the drug. The Act also deals with fake and adulterated drugs.

Read More
Comments:
Views: 374
Likes:

Rights of Consumers

By: Adv. Jayatinn B. Lalwani Consumer Grivances 12 Sep 2019

A consumer is considered the real king of the market. The consumer is the one who buys the products for consumption and not for resale or any other commercial purpose. He pays some amount of money to avail these goods and services offered to him. 

A Consumer plays a crucial role in changing the market. If there is no consumer, the manufacturer will have no one to provide its services. More often, the consumer is offered contaminated food or uncertified products. 

Being an important participant in the market, the rights of the consumer must be protected. Until the commencement of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, India was severely affected by black marketing, food adulteration, inadequate weighing, etc., which affected the well-being of the consumers in the Indian market. Due to these malpractices, the government decided to enact the Consumer Protection Act on 24th December 1986. The main objective of the act was to protect the rights of the consumer.

There are six primary consumer rights defined as per the Consumer Protection Act, 1986:

Right to Safety: The Consumer Protection Act defines this right as protection against goods and services that are ‘dangerous to life and property’. It applies to medicines, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, and automobiles. The Right to safety says that all such products of critical nature to life and property should be carefully tested and validated before being marketed to the consumer. The goods and services purchased by the consumer should not only meet the immediate needs but also fulfil the interests for the long term goal. It is suggested to choose the product holding quality mark.

Right to Information: Right to information says that the consumers have the right to be informed about the quality and quantity of goods sold. They must have the information about the price of product and access to other information about the product that consumer intends to buy. A consumer should get all the information about the goods and services before making a choice. The consumer may now seek the information of the product by filing the complaint under Right to Information Act, 2005 before the appropriate authority.

Right to Choose: The consumer must have the right of choosing the products at competitive prices. Thus, the concept of a competitive market explains that there are many sellers to sell similar products, but it’s the consumer right to choose what they intend to consume and in what quantity. This is done to avoid a monopoly in the market. It also includes the right to choose the basic goods and services. 

Right to Seek Redressal: When a consumer is exploited, he/she have the right to file a complaint against the faulty product and approach a consumer court. A consumer court is a forum that hears the criticism and provides justice to the exploited parties. The consumer has the right to be represented in various forums formed for the welfare of the consumer. The Consumer Protection Act defines the three-tier redressal system to execute the right of redressal.

Right to be Heard: The right to heard ensures that if the consumers are dissatisfied with the product purchased, then they can be heard in consumer redressal forums. When a consumer feels exploited, he has the right to approach a consumer court to file his complaint. This right respect the claim made by the consumer and will be duly heard. The said complaint cannot go unheard as it must be addressed within the appropriate time frame. The right to be heard empower consumers to voice their concerns fearlessly and seek justice if exploited.

Right to Consumer Education: Consumers have the right to know all information and should be aware of their rights and responsibilities. Lack of awareness is the major problem in our country, which results in the exploitation of Consumer rights. This information can help them to choose what to purchase, how much to buy and at what price. Consumers are not even aware of the acts protecting them. Unless they are aware of the right, they cannot seek justice when exploited. 

Also, in addition to the above mentioned six consumer rights, there are also a few other consumer rights.

Right to file a complaint: The consumers can file a complaint with the District Consumer Commission or State Consumer Commission directly as the Consumer affairs are now framing rules for electronic filing of complaints and payment of fees digitally.

Right to seek compensation: The complainant can now file a case against the manufacturer or seller of a particular product for any loss occurred. This new provision brings e-commerce under the ambit of consumer laws.

Right to seek hearing via video conference: As per the new act of consumer protection, if any of the consumer forwards the application for being present for hearing through video conference, the commission can allow the same.

Right to know the reason for rejection of complaint: No complaint can be rejected by the commission, in fact, as per the act, the commission must decide to admit or reject a complaint within 21 days of the filing of the complaint.

Right to protect the consumer as a class: The complaint which relates to the violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices or misleading advertisement which are prejudicial to the interest of the consumer as a class, the complaint can be filed before the district collector, commissioner of regional office or the authority of Central Consumer for a class action.

Conclusion: The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted in order to protect the rights of the consumer on 24th December 1986. Now, in 2019, this three-decade-old Consumer Protection Act is repealed by new Consumer Protection Act, 2019 in order to enhance consumer rights in the digital economy and expand the scope of consumer grievances with easy process of filing complaints.

The existing legal framework of Consumer protection Act failed to address the emerging issues and new modes of business like telemarketing, multi-level marketing, e- commerce, etc. there was a dire need of a  legal framework that gives the regulatorsuo-moto powers.

Read More
Comments:
Views: 398
Likes: