5 Consumer Rights Every Indian Should Be Aware Of Under Consumer Protection Bill
The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 that decides to provide establishment of authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumer disputes. This Bill has already been passed by the Lower House of Parliament, Lok Sabha.
This Bill majorly looks out for the benefits of consumer and imparts rights to him/her as a consumer. It seeks to strengthen their rights and provides a mechanism for addressing these complaints, with any regards to defects in goods or deficiency in services. This Consumer Protection Bill 2019 replaces the old Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has several new provisions and rules which never existed in India.
We have already informed you about the part of the Bill where advertisers use celebrities to get common man interested in their products. Any such misleading advertisement will cost the alleged celebrity and advertiser a hefty fine of Rs 50 lakh or 5 years’ jail time.
Consumers Can Now File a Compliant Anywhere
According to this new law, a consumer can now file a complaint either at the District Consumer Commission or State Consumer Commission, irrespective of where the seller has its registered office. Previously, one could file a case only where they bought the product. A complaint can be filed at the district commission by a recognized consumer body or multiple consumers.
Consumer affairs ministry shall frame rules amidst which one can file complaints electronically and get refunded digitally.
Consumers Can Seek Compensation for Defected Products
Consumers can now file a case against a manufacturer or a manufacturing body if they receive any defective or damaged products. This service is not just for e commerce online bodies but now applicable for all lines of services.
In case of a manufacturing defect or a deviation from the manufacturing specifications of the sold product, the manufacturer can be held liable. The new law also prohibits sharing personal information of consumers as unfair, especially for ecomm cos.
Right to Protect Consumers as One
Any complaint in relation to violation of consumer rights or unfair trade practices, or misleading advertisements in that matter, can be registered either in writing or in electronic mode and could be reported to any one of these authorities:
The District Collector or The Commissioner of Regional Office, or The Central Consumer Protection Authority, for further action.
Consumers Can Now Seek a Hearing Through Video Conferencing as well
The law says every complaint shall be heard by district commission on the basis of an affidavit and documentary evidence placed before it. This hearing, for the sake of ease of a consumer, can be taken up in a video conferencing routine as well, for thorough examination of the alleged parties.
Consumers Can Now Ask for the Reason of Complaint Denial
To maintain a transparency amongst the complainant and the governing body, the new Bill gives a consumer the right to ask for the reason of denial of his/her complaint filed. The commission cannot reject a complaint wihtout hearing the complainant and has to make a decision within 21 days.
If the commission gives a settlement proposal, it can direct both the parties to give their consent or have dispute settled through mediation.
Misleading Advertisers will be Heavily Penalised
An advertiser in any misleading the public, or not living upto each word it has advertised, could serve a jail time for about 2 years, or pay a fine of Rs 10 lakh for first offence. A repition of such a scenario could buy them 5 years’ jail time and Rs 50 lakh fine.
A publisher or advertiser will have to pay a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh if Central Consumer Protection Authority finds them guilty.