Things you need to know:
The newly passed act aims at bridging the gaps left by the 3-decade old law; that governed the rights of the consumers. Also, the provisions of the new act stand focused on consumers and their rights; while also being in line with technological changes in the society.
The following essential changes stand incorporated into the new Act:
- Firstly, the Act provides a more inclusive definition of a Consumer as it now includes transactions through all modes; offline and online through electronic means such as teleshopping, multi-level marketing or direct selling.
- Secondly, Overall 6 Consumer Rights have been listed under the Act which include protection against marketing of hazardous goods; information about the quality and other details of the good; access, redressal, etc.
- Central Consumer Protection Authority: Thirdly, the establishment of a central authority; to back and protect consumer rights comes out as an essential feature of the Act.
- Central Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission: Setting up of CDRCs at District, State and National level.
- Also, it provides for a provision for mediation and even e-filing of the cases.
- Fourthly, the Act provides for a stricter watch on E-Commerce; wherein they would have to provide information regarding return, refund, exchange of goods, guarantee, warranty; modes of payment as well as grievance addressal mechanisms.
- Product Liability: The liability of a product manufacturer, service provider or seller to compensate a consumer for any harm or injury caused by a defective good or deficient service.
- Moreover, it provides a penalty for adulteration of products as well as spurious goods.
How Consumer Protection Act, 2019 benefits the Consumers
In view of the aforesaid features, it is a much more inclusive and comprehensive legislation and provides relief to the Consumers in various ways. Such as:
- Inclusion of a wide range of Consumer Rights.
- Backing up of these rights by a Central Authority.
- Dispute Resolution speedier through technology (e-filing).
- Producer liable for a defective product that causes an injury to the consumers.
- Easier accessibility to CDRC’s as they will be established in districts, states and national level.
- Rules applicable to manufacturers for misleading advertisements.
- Even Celebrities who endorse misleading products can be banned from such endorsement.
The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is a consumer-friendly and comprehensive legislation that was the need of the hour. The most essential feature of the Act is its consistency with the technological progression in the Country. Even though it remains silent on certain points like mandatory services provided by the state, safety requirements, the Right to a Healthy Environment, etc., it is fair to say that it will be more of a boon than a bane for the society.
It has successfully replaced the former Act which was ambiguous and left out the main focus of the Act: the Consumers. With the new Act, the Producers will be more strictly answerable to the Consumers for any wrongdoing on their part and even for an injury caused by their defective product. Even E-Commerce sites would have to deal with issues faced by their Consumers within 48 hours of such complaint. The new Act, thus, seems well-thought, in accordance with the dynamic needs and progressions of the Society.