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.
Rights of consumers:
The following consumer rights have been defined in the Act, including the right to:
- be protected against 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.
Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA):
- The central government will set up a CCPA 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.
- The CCPA will have an investigation wing, headed by a Director-General, which may conduct inquiry or investigation into such violations.
Functions of CCPA:
Penalties for misleading advertisement:
- 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 Commission:
Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (CDRCs) 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.
Jurisdiction of CDRCs:
- The District CDRC will entertain complaints where value of goods and services does not exceed Rs one crore.
- The State CDRC will entertain complaints when the value is more than Rs one crore but does not exceed Rs 10 crore.
- Complaints with value of goods and services over Rs 10 crore will be entertained by the National CDRC.
- The Act also introduces the Product liability clause.
- A manufacturer or a service provider has to compensate a consumer if their goods/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.
Why in News?
National Consumer Day, 2020 with the theme of “New Features of Consumer Protection Act 2019” was observed recently.