Consumer Protection Act, 2019: Key Highlights
There is an old business mantra saying “Customer is King”, it asserts the importance of an individual being a consumer or will be a consumer. It is a Right of Consumers to know the details of using any product or service. People always expect value for money like Quality and Quantity of Products and Services. But more often such consumers get cheated or harassed by the sellers itself.
Such Matter was seen by the Government, and it decided to take a major step to protect the consumers from such corrupt suppliers. Indian Government enacted many laws like The Indian Contract Act, the Agricultural Produce, Grading, and Marketing Act, The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, etc.
However, the Indian Legal System revolutionized with its changing technology and development of Consumers through understanding related product specifications and increasing unfair practices. The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted to protect the interest of people. It provides justice with fewer formalities for cases.
While there was rapid Increase in Technology and piling of cases in consumers court across the country, Consumer Protection Act 2019 was published on Official Gazette on 9th August 2019 which will replace 34 years old act and came into effect from 20th July 2020. Keeping E-business and the new mode of changing mechanism of the market, every consumer need to know the major changes made in this act:
8 Key Highlights of the New Consumer Protection Act:
1. Introducing E-Commerce transactions
This Provision aims to refrain from influencing the prices of goods/services sold on E-Commerce Sites and also prevent or to completely stop any unfair trade practices with Consumers. Now E-commerce Site is equally responsible for Legitimate Information and Product to be sold on such E-Portals. A survey by a social community platform Local Circles conducted in December last year showed that 38% of respondents out of 6,923 were sold counterfeit products from an eCommerce site in one year
2. Filing of Case at his/her place.
This Provision delivered power to the consumer as before, filing takes place in that court where the seller resides, but now any case related to unfair practice could be filed in that court where the buyer resides.
3. E-Courts are allowed in complaint hearing
One of the major changes in this Act is that the Consumer Complaint Hearing can be done through “Virtual Courts”. The Complainant, Lawyers, and forum will be participating online from their homes through a go-to-meeting app available on play store.
Complaints can be Filed on https://consumerconnect.co.in/ website.
4. Enhanced Pecuniary Jurisdiction.
the District commission has raised its pecuniary jurisdiction from up to 20 lakhs to 1 crore. Similarly, in both state and national commission also, the pecuniary jurisdiction has been raised from 20 lakhs and above to 1 Crore- 10 Crore, and from above 1 Crore to above 10 crores. For instance, if the case is filed for Rs.10 Cr, then the Case will directly move up to the National Commission.
5. Strict Punishment for misleading advertisements.
The major change in this provision that it could put Manufacturers behind bars for promoting any misleading statements, violating consumer rights, unfair trade practices which are prejudicial to the interest of the public. Promoting illegitimate practices can be punished for 2 years of imprisonment and maximum Rs.10 Lakhs fine, and if such an act is reiterated, then 5 years of imprisonment and maximum Rs. 50 Lakhs fine.
6.Product Liability Action
As per CPA 2019, a case can be filed for “Product Liability Action” on “product Manufacturer” for any harm to be compensated which can be caused by the product which could be defective products or by any deficiency of services related thereto.
7.Establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)
CCPA is a separate regulator that is established by the Centre to address issues of any kind of practice that are causing harm to the consumers. CCPA has the power to investigate and impose fines and penalties on the Product Manufacturers. E-commerce is also under the radar of CCPA and overall, it is to strengthen consumer rights by all means.
8. Establishment of Mediation Centers
This new act has provided us with the alternative which was most needed in the Indian system. Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) is introduced under this act which is provided at three levels i.e. District Commission, State Commission, and the National Commission. This will help to fast track Consumer Matters and to resolve it efficiently.
An appeal against the order of Central Authority
Any person who is aggrieved by the order passed by the Central Authority may file an appeal to the National Commission within thirty days from the date of receipt of such order.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shubham Sankhala is a 3 year LLB Student.
They can be contacted at email@example.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/shubham-sankhala-07563215b/
Edited By: Swathi. Ashok. Nair
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