The Consumer Protection Act 2019 is an important piece of legislation in India that seeks to protect the rights and interests of consumers. The Act was enacted on 9th August 2019 and replaced the earlier Consumer Protection Act of 1986.
The history of Consumer Protection Act in India dates back to 1986 when the first Consumer Protection Act was passed by the Indian Parliament. The main objective of this act was to protect the interests of consumers against unfair trade practices and to provide them with an effective and speedy mechanism for redressal of grievances.
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provided for the establishment of consumer protection councils at the district, state, and national levels to create awareness among consumers about their rights and to promote consumer welfare. It also provided for the setting up of Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions (CDRCs) at the district, state, and national levels to hear and resolve consumer disputes.
Over the years, several amendments were made to the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 to make it more effective and to address the emerging issues in the market. However, it was felt that the act needed a comprehensive overhaul to keep pace with the changing times and the new challenges faced by the consumers.
In 2019, the Indian Parliament passed the new Consumer Protection Act, which repealed the old act and brought several new provisions to strengthen consumer protection in India. The new act provides for the establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to regulate matters relating to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements. It also provides for the regulation of e-commerce and direct selling and simplifies the process of resolving consumer disputes.
The Salient provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 are as follows:
Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA):
The Act establishes a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) that has the power to investigate, recall, and impose penalties on products and services that are found to be harmful to consumers.
Definition of Consumer:
The Act defines a consumer as any person who buys goods or services for personal use or consumption. The definition has been expanded to include online transactions, teleshopping, and multi-level marketing.
Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission:
The Act provides for the establishment of Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions at the district, state, and national levels. The Commissions have the power to hear complaints and provide redressal to consumers.
The Act introduces the concept of product liability, which makes manufacturers and service providers liable for any harm caused to consumers due to defective products or services.
The Act provides for mediation as a means of resolving consumer disputes. This is aimed at reducing the burden on the courts and providing a quicker resolution to consumer complaints.
The Act provides for the regulation of e-commerce companies and sets out rules for their conduct. E-commerce companies are required to provide information about the products and services they offer, including their country of origin.
The Act provides for penalties for misleading advertisements. Advertisers who make false or misleading claims can be fined and banned from advertising for a period of up to three years.
The Act provides for the establishment of a Consumer Protection Council at the national, state, and district levels. These councils are tasked with promoting consumer rights and awareness.
The Act provides for product recalls in cases where a product is found to be defective or harmful to consumers. Manufacturers are required to issue a recall notice and take appropriate measures to rectify the problem.