The Consumer Protection Act as this article goes to show is an enabling legislation and is aimed to be progressive. Keep reading to learn all about the benefits earmarked to consumers under the welfare Act.
While deciding on a consumer complaint, the NCDRC has recently asked LIC to pay a fine of ₹ 2.5 lakhs to the father of a girl in Maharashtra. The person had taken the Jeevan Aadhaar policy of LIC for his daughter suffering from Down’s syndrome. The LIC had earlier refused to pay the assured amount to him even after he paid all his premiums in full.
The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is welfare legislation enacted by the Government of India to protect the consumers of various goods and services against malpractices of vendors. The Act aims to provide rights and benefits to consumers who act in good faith, in addition to providing them with appropriate machinery for redressal of their grievances.
The various provisions of the Consumer Protection Act that aims to achieve the aforementioned objectives are analysed in this article:
Rights of Consumers under the Consumer Protection Act
- To be informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods and services.
- To be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive prices.
- To seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices.
Authorities Under the Consumer Protection Act: An Overview
The Act has established a number of authorities dedicated only to the defense of consumer rights. Even at the Central, State, and District levels, it has formed Consumer Protection Councils under Section 3 that are exclusively responsible for advising the Central Government, State Government, and District Authority on how to best promote and safeguard consumer rights at various levels.
A Central Consumer Protection Authority has been established under Section 10 of the Act in order to regulate issues relating to consumer rights violations, unfair business practises, and deceptive or false advertising that is harmful to the interests of the public and consumers, as well as to promote, protect, and uphold the rights of consumers as a group.
A District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, or District Commission, is also created by the Act under Section 28. An aggrieved consumer may approach them to file a complaint, concerning any goods sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or any service provided or agreed to be provided.
Individuals Who Can Seek Redressal Under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019
Individuals entitled to approach the Commission under the Act are those –
(a) to whom such goods are sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or such service is provided or agreed to be provided; or
(b) who allege unfair trade practice in respect of such goods or service;
(c) any recognised consumer association, whether the consumer is a member of such association or not;
(d) one or more consumers, where numerous consumers are having the same interest, with the permission of the District Commission, on behalf of, or for the benefit of, all consumers so interested.
Penalties Under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019
Effective penalties outlined in the Act serve to protect the rights of consumers who approach these forums. For instance, if a manufacturer or service provider causes a consumer to be misled by a fraudulent or misleading marketing advert, they could face two years in prison and a fine of ₹10 lakh.
The manufacturer of a product can also be penalised with seven years in prison and a fine that can reach ₹ 5 lakh if a consumer suffers severe harm as a result of adulteration.
These sanctions under the Act are prescribed in order to effectively discourage producers or manufacturers from using unscrupulous methods to increase their profits.
Benefits for Consumers under the Consumer Protection Act:
- Consumers are protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property.
- Consumers are entitled to a speedy, simple, and inexpensive relief under the act.
- Consumer sovereignty in the choice of goods is guaranteed.
- Effective redressal machinery is available to the consumers.
- The authorities under the act are made responsible for the protection of certain rights. Such as the right to safety, right to choose, right to be heard and the right to consumer education.
- The penalties under the Act helps to check arbitrary trade practices in India. Also, it helps in building mutual trust in the consumption of goods and services in an economy like India.
- The Act also has provisions for product liability. If the product is defective, then the service provider has to repay the consumer.
- Additionally, a manufacturer or a service provider has to compensate a consumer if the goods/services cause injury or damage to the consumer. This can be due to a manufacturing defect or poor service.
All in all the Consumer Protection Act of 2019 is a progressive, welfare legislation that ultimately benefits the consumers of India. If you are an aggrieved consumer, we advise you to get in touch with the attorneys at Vakilsearch in order to get your complaints resolved in no time!