Consumer Protection Laws in India
Consumer Protection Laws in India
Consumer Protection Act is one of the main laws that provide protection to consumers in India. The Act was introduced in the year 1986 and then amended in the year 2002 through the Consumer Protection Amendment Act, 2002. In this article, we look at the protection afforded to the consumers through the Act.
Objective of the Consumer Protection Act
The main objective of the Consumer Protection Act is to provide better protection of consumers and establish a strong mechanism for the settlement of consumer disputes. The Consumer Protection Act seeks right to:
- protect against the marketing of goods which are hazardous to life and property;
- inform about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices;
- assure, wherever possible, access to an authority of goods at competitive prices;
- hear and to assure that consumers interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums;
- seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers;
- consumer education.
The Consumer Protection Act defines a consumer as a person who buys goods or services for consideration (NOT for resale). Also, a consumer is who uses the goods and services with the permission of the person who purchases the goods or services. The Act covers all goods and services including banking, e-commerce, telecom, insurance, electricity, transportation in the private and public sector.
How and When to Complain
Under the Consumer Protection Act, the customer can raise a complaint in writing if:
- Adoption of any unfair trade practise or a restrictive trade practice by any trader or service provider;
- The goods bought by him or agreed to be bought by him suffer from one or more defects;
- The services hired or availed of or agreed to be hired or availed of by him suffer from a deficiency in any respect;
- Trader or the service provider, as the case may be, has charged for the goods or for the services mentioned in the complaint, a price in excess of the price:
- Fixed by or under any law for the time being in force;
- Displayed on the goods or any package containing such goods;
- Displayed on the price list exhibited by him by or under any law for the time being in force;
- Agreed between the parties;
- Offering goods for sale to the public which will be hazardous to life and safety when used.
- Offering services which will be hazardous to life and safety of the public when used.
Note: Such service given by the service provider are the person who could have known with due diligence to be injurious to life and safety.
Any consumer complaint relating to a good or service must be filed in writing with a District Forum by the consumer along with the fee. On receipt of a complaint, the District Forum may reject or approve the complaint, usually within 21 days from the date of complaint. On the other hand, a copy of the complaint will reach the opposite party for the approval to be made within 45 days.
The effort is taken to hear all consumer cases as expeditiously as possible. Further, it is endeavoured to decide the complaint within a period of three months from the date of receipt of notice by the opposite party. Hence, if during the proceedings, the complainant fails to appear on the date of hearing before the District Forum, the District Forum may either dismiss the complaint about default or decide it on merits.
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