This Article is written by Kinkini Chaudhuri (Law student of Amity University, Kolkata)
Table of Contents
The Consumer’s Protection Act, 2019 was assented to by the President on 9th August 2019 and had thus replaced the previous Consumer’s Protection Act, 1986. The main aim of this Act is to strengthen the rights of the consumers by establishing the necessary authorities, imposing stricter liabilities and penalties on the manufacturers, electronic service providers, misleading advertisers, by providing the consumers with the additional settlement of consumer disputes through mediation.
Comparative Analysis of Consumer Protection Act, 2019 with Consumer Protection Act, 1986:
If we look at the latest Act, then we will clearly understand that the main aim of the Act is to protect the consumers from making an online purchase, be it a service or a product. Section 21(2) of the 2019 Act specifies clearly that even after receiving a notice from the Commissioner of the Consumer regarding endorsement of products along with the publication of false information about the specific product, then the Commissioner may impose a fine of Rupees 55 lacs.
The new Act of 2019 has specifically stated that it will make the endorsers liable if they perform any sort of fraudulent activities like putting out deceptive advertisements in order to assist in incorporate sales online. Not only that, the new Act of 2019 is extremely consumer-friendly such that it protects the privacy and ensures ultimate safety of the customers, as the Act considers the disclosure of personal information of the consumers to be an offence.
The provision of product liability clarifies that from now onwards the manufacturers will have to compensate not only for the damaged goods that they have provided to the customers and shall also cover the loss so faced by the consumer concerned due to the defective product. The Act has also proposed to set up Central Authority for Consumer Protection (CCPA), which will be an absolute independent regulator, which does not mean that the body will neither resolve nor respond to the issues so faced by the consumers. Instead, the body will resolve and remove the malpractices such as unfair trade. The 2019 Act gives a privilege to judicial review which will require the Consumer Commissions to think twice about their choices which will assist in diminishing the coerced forced by picked petitions to amend clear irregularities before the record. In contrast to the Act of 1986, it provides advancement to the Central Commissioner rather than to the State Commissioner.
Rights of the Consumers:
Following are the rights of the consumers:
- To be secured from selling of rights and property-threatening goodsand services.
- To get notified about the information of the product and/or services like nature, quantity, efficacy, consistency, value, expiry date.
- To get assured about the spread of the commodities, product and/pr services at a fair and competitive rate, whenever possible.
- To get the issues and problems faced by the consumers get redressed at the consumer redressal forum of the company.
- To get awareness of the products and services.
How the Home Buyers are Beneficial From Consumer Protection Act, 2019:
According to the new Act, the buyers have got a lot of scope of protection and empowerment of the consumers and its provisions to aid the home buyers. Some of the provisions that aid the consumers are as follows:
- Unfair Contract: In the latest Consumer Protection Act, Section 2(46) was inserted, which defines the concept of “unfair contract”, and includes those contracts which favors the manufacturers or the service providers which go against the interest of the consumers like those contracts which require a high amount of security deposit in order to enable the contract, or imposition of extremely high amount of penalties for a simple breach of contract, or may be to accept early repayment of debts on payment of applicable penalty, etc. Under the new Act, the consumers have been extensively covered and a complaint can be lodged to get the complaint redressed. Including the real estate developers and other business entities now have tosign such unfair contracts and accept their standard terms before providing services.
- Product Liability: This is a significant introduction in the new Act, where the scope of the phrase is thatit covers the product manufacturers, service providers and product sellers to claim compensation. The term “Product liability” has been defined in the Act as the duty of a product seller or product manufacturer, of any service or product, related to the product to compensate for any harm caused to a consumer by such defective product manufactured or sold or by a deficiency in services relating to the product. However, certain exceptions have been provided under the new Act from liability claims, such as, that the product seller will not be liable where the product has been misused, altered, or modified.
- Territorial Jurisdiction: In the new Act, an added feature has been added which provides an advantage where they can file complaints where the person belonging to the opposite personally resides or works for gain or runs his business. The amended Act assists in removing difficulties which are quite often faced by the consumers in order to seek redressal of their grievances due to the non-availability of the geographical location in that particular branch.
- Pecuniary Jurisdiction: The new Act also provides for a change in the pecuniary jurisdiction for the District, State and National Commissions, respectively. The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has enhanced its pecuniary limit up to an amount of Rupees 1 Crore from 20 lakh. The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has enhanced its pecuniary limit to Rupees 10 crores from 1 crore, and the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has enhanced its pecuniary limit to over Rupees 10 crores from 1 crore as was mentioned in the previous Act.
- E-filing of Complaints and Hearing Through Video Conference: In the new Act, an unique provision was introduced where it provides a facility to the consumers to facilitate e-filing of complaints and provides redressal through video conferencing which is at the choice of the consumers, which adds a futuristic approach to adjudication of matters definitely aimed at helping consumers.