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When we buy a product from the market we must be aware of consumer rights and what to do in case the seller gives us a defective product or indulges in fraud. The law that safeguards the rights of consumers and provides justice to them is Consumer Protection Act, 1986. It was then amended to Consumer Protection Amendment Act, 2002.
Main objectives of the Act
The main objective of Consumer Protection Act is to provide a platform to consumers where they can lodge complaints and settle disputes, at the same time, protect the rights of the consumers.
The Act aims to:
- Discourage the marketing of goods that are hazardous to life or in any form and safeguard consumers from it.
- Inform consumers about purity, quality, standard, quantity, potency, and price of goods so that the consumer does not fall in the trap of unfair trade practices.
- Hear consumers’ complaints and assure them that their rights will be protected.
- Seek redressal against fraud practices or consumer exploitation by mean marketers.
- Educate consumers about their rights, the law, and how to judge the quality of products.
Situations when a consumer can file a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act:
- When a product/service provider indulges in unfair trade practices
- When the goods bought from a trader is defective
- When the service taken or agreed to be taken is deficient in any aspect
- When a product/service provider has charged a price higher than that mentioned on the label (MRP), or exhibited by him/her under any law in the current time, or agreed by both parties (buyer and seller)
- When a product/service provider sells goods/services that are hazardous to health, life, or general safety of the public and/or environment
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[Updated] Consumer Protection Act, 2019
Consumer Protection Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in 2019 replacing the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The bill has defined customer rights including the following:
- Protection against marketing goods and products which are harmful to life.
- Information regarding quality, quantity, purity, standard and price of goods and services.
- Access to different products and services at competitive costs.
- Reimbursement against unfair and fraudulent trade practices.
There are various advertising laws in India that govern advertisements in print and online, social media, television, and other sources….read more.
Faulty Product/Bad Service
As per Section 2(1) of Consumer Protection Act, 2019, Deficiency of Service means, “Any fault, imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature and manner of performance…read more.
Medical negligence or medical malpractice is when a doctor fails to provide care and treatment to the patient as per the standards of medical practice and because of which the patient suffers harm or even death….read more.
Online fraud cases are common these days. Most of the frauds are done to extort money or to harm the reputation of a person. This is a cyber crime and can also come under the consumer protection….read more.
Refund Related Matters
Ecommerce is trending these days and millions of people buy online. However, even the most reputable ecommerce sites may sometimes not provide refund or replacement of products after their….read more.
Process to file a consumer complaint
A consumer can file a complaint related to a product or service with the District Forum in writing. The consumer also must pay a fee for this.
On receiving the complaint, the District Forum may accept or reject the complaint. This happens within 21 days of filing the complaint.
At the same time, the officials will send a copy of the complaint to the offending party for response that has to be made within 45 days.
The law endeavours that the case must be completed within 3 months of the receipt of notice by the offending party. If the complainant fails to appear on the hearing date, then the District Forum will dismiss the case or decide it based on merits.
Benefits to choose service
When you have filed a complaint against a trader or service provider, it is important to take legal assistance so that your case stays strong. The other party will have their own lawyer who will build a strong defense. You may need to argue your case, which can be done through an experienced lawyer.
Also, if for some reason you are unable to attend a court hearing, then your lawyer can do so on your behalf so that your case is not dismissed.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
As per the definition of consumer by the Consumer Protection Act, “a consumer is a person who buys products or receives services for a consideration that has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any delayed payment system.” A consumer is also the person who uses the products and services under the permission of the person who bought them. So, you may not be a buyer, but you can still be a consumer.
The Consumer Protection Act covers all products and services of the private and public sector. This includes e-commerce, banking, insurance, telecom, power supply, and transportation.
You have to be a consumer as per the definition of consumer under the Consumer Protection Act to be able to lodge a complaint under the Act.
The following are the six rights:
- Right to safety
- Right to choose
- Right to be informed
- Right to consumer education
- Right to be heard
- Right to seek redressal
Class Action complaint, also called Representative Action, is a type of lawsuit in which a group of people collectively file a claim in the court. These people may have suffered similar injuries or harm from the same product or company or service provider. The harm may be minor, but when many people suffer the same harm, they can come together to file a Class Action suit. This way, the minor claim adds up to become bigger in value and helps to consolidate legal help, witnesses, evidence, and other facets of litigation.
Class Action suit was introduced for the first time in America in 1938 and in Indian in 2009 after the Parliament drafted the Companies Act. Sections 245 and 246 of the Act deal with Class Action suits.
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