Salient Features of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 – The Consumer Protection Act of 2019 in India introduced several significant changes and reforms as compared to its predecessor, the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. Here are the salient features of the Consumer Protection Act 2019:
Salient Features of the Consumer Protection Act 2019
Definition of consumer: The Act expands the definition of consumer to include online buyers, making it more inclusive and relevant to the digital age.
Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA): The Act sets up the CCPA as a regulatory body with the power to investigate, prosecute and fine companies for unfair trade practices. It can also issue safety recalls and enforce product liability.
Product Liability: This is a notable addition to the Act, which makes manufacturers, sellers and service providers accountable for any damages caused by defective products or faulty services. It allows consumers to demand compensation for injuries or damage caused by defective products.
E-commerce Regulations: The Act introduces specific provisions related to e-commerce platforms. It mandates disclosure of information, including return policies, and places additional responsibilities on e-commerce entities to protect consumer rights in online transactions.
Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions: The Act retains the three-tier structure of Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions at the district, state and national levels. It also establishes the concept of circuit benches to increase access to consumers in rural areas.
Arbitration and fast-track dispute resolution: The Act encourages resolution of disputes through arbitration and allows the establishment of arbitration cells at commission levels. It also introduces provisions for fast-track resolution of disputes to expedite consumer redressal.
Enhanced Penalties: The Act provides for strict penalties on businesses involved in unfair trade practices, including imprisonment for misleading advertisements and false claims.
Alternative Redressal Mechanism: This allows consumers to file complaints before consumer commissions even if they have other remedies available, such as through civil courts, providing an additional avenue for consumers to seek justice.
Consumer Education and Awareness: The Act emphasizes the importance of consumer education and promotion of consumer awareness. It encourages educational programs and campaigns to inform consumers about their rights and responsibilities.
Rights of Consumers: The Act reiterates the rights of consumers, which include the right to information, the right to choose, the right to be heard and the right to seek redressal. It empowers consumers to take informed decisions and redress complaints.
Unfair trade practices: The Act goes into detail about what constitutes unfair trade practices, which include misleading advertising, misleading packaging and false claims.
Simplified Filing: It simplifies the process of filing consumer complaints by allowing electronic filing and removing the need for consumers to be physically present during the hearing, making it more convenient for consumers.
The Consumer Protection Act of 2019 in India modernizes and strengthens consumer protection laws to adapt to the changing market and the rise of e-commerce. It aims to provide better protection to consumers, faster resolution of disputes and increased accountability for businesses, which will ultimately increase consumer confidence in the Indian market.
10 Key Provisions from the Consumer Protection Act 2019
The Consumer Protection Act of 2019 is a significant legislation in India aimed at safeguarding the rights and interests of consumers. Here are 10 key provisions from the Act:
- Definition of Consumer: The Act defines a consumer as any person who buys goods or avails services for personal use.
- Rights of Consumers: It enumerates various rights of consumers, including the right to be informed, right to choose, right to seek redressal, and right to be protected.
- Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA): The Act establishes the CCPA to promote, protect, and enforce consumer rights.
- Product Liability: It introduces provisions for product liability, making manufacturers and sellers liable for defective products.
- Unfair Trade Practices: The Act prohibits unfair trade practices such as false advertising, deceptive packaging, and misleading claims.
- E-commerce Regulations: It regulates e-commerce platforms and holds them accountable for counterfeit and substandard products.
- Mediation and Simplified Dispute Resolution: The Act promotes mediation and provides for the establishment of Consumer Mediation Cells for speedy dispute resolution.
- Penalties and Compensation: It prescribes penalties for misleading advertisements and adulteration of products, and also provides for compensation to consumers.
- Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions: The Act establishes various consumer dispute redressal commissions at the district, state, and national levels for adjudicating consumer complaints.
- Consumer Education and Awareness: The Act emphasizes the importance of consumer education and awareness programs to empower consumers with knowledge about their rights and responsibilities.
The Consumer Protection Act of 2019 enhances consumer protection in India by addressing various issues and providing legal remedies for consumers who face unfair trade practices and defective products.