Central Consumer Protection Authority
- The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) was constituted under The Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
- The CCPA aims to protect the rights of the consumer by cracking down on unfair trade practices, and false and misleading advertisements that are detrimental to the interests of the public and consumers.
- The CCPA is empowered to conduct investigations into violation of consumer rights and institute complaints / prosecution, order recall of unsafe goods and services, order discontinuation of unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements, impose penalties on manufacturers/endorsers/publishers of misleading advertisements.
- It functions under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
Why in News?
- The Central Consumer Protection Authority has directed district collectors to ensure enforcement of Guidelines issued with regard to service tax by hotels and restaurants.
- It gave clear direction that levying of service charge is in violation to the guidelines and constitutes unfair trade practice wherein affecting rights of consumers as a class, and cognizance of such complaints must be taken on priority.
About Consumer Protection Act
The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 aims to provide for protection of the interests of consumers and for the said purpose, to establish authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers’ disputes and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Key features of the Act
- Definition of 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.
- The following consumer rights have been defined in the Act, including the right to:
- be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property;
- be informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services;
- be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive prices; and
- seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices.
- Product liability clause: A manufacturer or a service provider has to compensate a consumer if their good/service cause injury or loss to the consumer due to manufacturing defect or poor service. The most significant impact of this provision will be on e-commerce platforms as it also includes service providers under its ambit.
- Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA): To be set up by the central government to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers. It will regulate matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements.
- Misleading advertisements: The CCPA may impose a penalty on a manufacturer or an endorser of up to Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for up to two years for a false or misleading advertisement. In case of a subsequent offence, the fine may extend to Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of up to five years.
- Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (CDRCs): It will be set up at the district, state, and national levels. A consumer can file a complaint with CDRCs in relation to:
- Unfair or restrictive trade practices;
- Defective goods or services;
- Overcharging or deceptive charging; and
- The offering of goods or services for sale which may be hazardous to life and safety.
- Appeals from a District CDRC will be heard by the State CDRC. Appeals from the State CDRC will be heard by the National CDRC. Final appeal will lie before the Supreme Court.
- The Act also enables regulations to be notified on E-commerce and direct selling with focus on protection of interest of consumers.
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