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Consumer Protection Bill, 2019

Consumer Protection Bill, 2019

The Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan on July 8, 2019. The Bill replaces the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Who is a Consumer?

A consumer is defined as a person who buys any good or avails a service for a consideration. It does not include a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purpose. It covers transactions through all modes including offline, and online through electronic means, teleshopping, multi-level marketing or direct selling.

What are consumer rights?

The definition of a consumer right is the ‘right to have information about different aspects of a good or service such as its quality, quantity, potency, purity, price and standard.’

Existing Rights of consumers:

There were a total of 6 consumer rights which have been defined in the Consumer Protection Bill, and those are:

  • Right to Safety
  • Right to be Informed
  • Right to Choose
  • Right to be Heard
  • Right to Seek redressa
  • Right to Consumer Education

So, now in addition to the existing consumer rights, there are five new consumer rights you get as a consumer.

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According to this new right, consumers can now file a complaint with the District Consumer Commission or State Consumer Commission from anywhere, home, office or while on a weekend trip. Presently, the consumers are required to file a case only at the place where the product was purchased or where the seller of the product has his registered office. The consumer affairs ministry will now frame rules for electronic filing of complaints and specify norms for paying the required fee digitally. This will reduce harassment of consumers to a great extent.

2. Right to seek compensation under product liability

Any complainant can file a case against the manufacturer or seller of a product for any loss caused to the complainant on account of a defective product, which applies to all services. If there is a manufacturing defect or the product in question does not conform to the express warranty the manufacturer or the seller will be held liable. This provision brings e-commerce under its ambit.

3. Right to protect consumers as a class

If you have a complaint that relates to violation of consumer rights or unfair trade practices or misleading advertisements that are prejudicial to the interests of consumers as a class, you can do two things. Forward the complaint in writing or in electronic mode to district collector or the commissioner of regional office or the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) for class action.

4. Right to seek a hearing using video conferencing

According to this, any complaint will be presented before the district commission based on an affidavit and documentary evidence placed before it. If an application has been forwarded by a consumer for hearing through video conference, the commission can allow for this provision.

5. Right to know why a complaint was rejected

No commission can reject a complaint without hearing the complainant. The commission, in fact, must decide about admitting or rejecting a complaint within 21 days, by which if it is not decided then the complaint is deemed as having been admitted.

Current Affairs 2020

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