Salient Features of the Consumer Protection Act 2019

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.

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