Changes brought about by the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 repealing the Consumer Protection Act, 1986
The definition of “consumer” under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (CP Act) includes online purchasers.
The definition of “complainant” shall include parents or legal guardians of a consumer who is a minor.
The definition of “goods” has been amended to include “food” as defined in Food Safety and Security Act, 2006.
“Telecom” has been included within the definition of “services” in the CP Act to include telecom service providers.
The definition of “unfair trade practices” has been introduced to include misleading electronic advertising or refusal to withdraw defective services. The consideration shall be returned within the stipulated person and within 30 (thirty) days if there is no such stipulation. Disclosing confidential personal information collected during transactions shall be an offence.
“Product Liability” has been included to discourage manufacturers and service providers from delivering deficient or defectives service.
The manufacturer or the service provider will have to compensate the consumer for the harm caused.
Central Consumer Protection Authority:
A Central Consumer Protection Authority (Authority) shall be set up to regulate issues related to violation of rights of the consumers which could thereby affect the interest of the consumers.
There shall be an investigation wing to conduct inquiry.
The Authority shall have powers including inquiring suo moto on a complaint or do so on order from the Central Government, file complaints or intervene in matters before the National, State or District Commissions, refer the matter to for further investigation or to a regulator, recall good or seek for withdrawal of services which are unsafe or dangerous, order penalties against misleading advertisements.
The complaint can be filed in a Commission within the local limits of the place where the complainant resides or works for gain.
Filing shall be permitted electronically too.
Hearing of matters can be done via video conferencing.
A complaint shall be deemed to be admitted if its admissibility is not decided within 21 (twenty-one) days.
The pecuniary jurisdiction for District Commission shall not exceed goods and services of value INR 1 (one) crore, the pecuniary jurisdiction for State Commission shall not exceed goods and services of value INR 10 (ten) crore, pecuniary jurisdiction for National Commission shall include the goods and services of value exceeding INR 10 (ten) crore.
Consumer Mediation Mechanism:
The CP Act allows for setting up of Consumer Mediation Cells at District, State and National Commission level.
The Commission shall direct parties to opt for mediation when there is a possibility to settle the matter through mediation.
The results of such mediation shall be recorded and in case it fails, there shall be hearing of the matter by the Commission.
The Commission shall review its own decision and a matter shall go from State Commission to National Commission only when there is a substantial question of law.
Appeals shall lie from the National Commission to the Apex Court only when the complaint originated in the National Commission.
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