- The new Consumer Protection Act, 2019 came into force on 20th July 2020 and it will empower consumers and help them in protecting their rights through its various notified rules and provisions.
- The new act will be swift and less time consuming compared to the older Consumer Protection Act, 1986 in which single-point access to justice was given making it a time-consuming exercise.
About the Act:
- The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 establishes the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) whose primary objective will be to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.
- A manufacturer or product service provider or product seller will be held responsible to compensate for injury or damage caused by defective product or deficiency in services
- In case of the first conviction, a competent court may suspend any license issued to the person for a period of up to two years and in case of second or subsequent conviction, may cancel the license permanently.
- Empowering the State and District Commissions to review their own orders.
- Alternate Dispute Resolution Mechanism of Mediation.
- As per the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Rules,there will be no fee for filing cases up to Rs. 5 lakhs.
It is empowered to:
- Conduct investigations into violations of consumer rights and institute complaints/prosecution.
- Order recall of unsafe goods and services.
- Order discontinuance of unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements.
- Impose penalties on manufacturers/endorsers/publishers of misleading advertisements.
The “Consumer Rights” Provided under the New Act includes:
- right to be protected
- right to be informed
- right to be assured
- right to be heard
- right to seek redressal
- right to consumer awareness
Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 under the Act:
- E-commerce entities are required to provide information to consumers, relating to return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment, modes of payment, grievance redressal mechanism, payment methods, security of payment methods, charge-back options and country of origin.
- These platforms will have to acknowledge the receipt of any consumer complaint within 48 hours and redress the complaint within one month from the date of receipt. They will also have to appoint a grievance officer for consumer grievance redressal.
- The Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 are mandatory and are not advisories.
- Sellers cannot refuse to take back goods or withdraw services or refuse refunds, if such goods or services are defective, deficient, delivered late, or if they do not meet the description on the platform.
- The rules also prohibit the e-commerce companies from manipulating the price of the goods or services to gain unreasonable profit through unjustified prices.
Source: PRS India, Indian Express, PIB