Consumer Protection Act 2019
The Consumer Protection Act,2019 has been come into force from 20 July, with its salient features including the establishment of CCPA(Central Consumer Protection Authority) to market, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.
It was passed by the Lok Sabha on July 30, 2019 and Rajya Sabha on August 6, 2019. The Bill was then signed into law by President Ram Nath Kovind on August 9 last year.
The Act provides for a simplified dispute resolution mechanism with provision for mediation and e-filing of cases. Consumers can file a complaint at district or state consumer commission rather than the place where the service or product was sold. Consumers may drag manufacturers and sellers of adulterated and counterfeit products to court and claim compensation, as applicable. This act will help to consumer all consumer
As per the source received from media, the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said that the new Act will give power to consumers and assist them in protecting their rights through its various notified rules and provisions such as Consumer Protection Councils, Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions, Mediation,
He said that the power of CCPA is going to be increased to investigate into violations of consumer rights and institute complaints/prosecution, order recalls of unsafe goods and services, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements impose penalties on manufacturers/endorsers/publishers of misleading advertisements. Mr. Paswan further said that the principles for the prevention of unfair trade practices by e-commerce platforms also will be covered under this Act.
Mr. Paswan further said under this act, every e-commerce entity is required to produce information related to return, refund, exchange, warranty, and guarantee, delivery and shipment, modes of payment, grievance redressal mechanism, payment methods, the security of payment methods, charge-back options, etc. including country of the origin which are necessary for enabling the customer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage on its platform.
He said that e-commerce platforms need to acknowledge the receipt of any consumer complaint within forty-eight hours and redress the complaint within one month from the date of receipt under this Act.
He further added that the New Act gives an introduction about the concept of product liability and brings within its scope, manufacturer, product service provider, and merchandise seller, for any compensation claim.
As per the new Act, the name of the District Forum has been replaced with a new name the District Commission, and may now hear cases with a value of up to Rs 1 crore. There was a limit of Rs 20 earlier, the limit of the state commission has been increased and can now hear the cases up to Rs 10 crore, while the national consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) can hear cases with a value of up t0 Rs 10 crore, keeping with the inflation within the country
Additionally, a the knowledgeable mediator can now be appointed and consent terms entered between the parties before he is going to be treated as an order of the court. the other parties will now get to deposit 50 percent of the quantity ordered by the District Commission before filing an appeal before the state Commission. The earlier ceiling of Rs 25000 has been removed
Another important feature of the new Act is that a consumer can file a case wherever has resides, rather than filing a case at the place of the other party. Section 49(2) and 59(2) of the new Act gives power to the state commission and therefore the NCRC respectively, to declare the allegedly unfair terms of the contract to be null and void.
Even though these provisions are now effective, working of consumer commission in Mumbai and have virtually come to halt since March, when the pandemic struck, The new Act only provides for e-filling, with no provisions for virtual hearing
It will also give teeth to the authorities to punish unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements.
A significant change that under the earlier Act, complaints could be initiated only in the place where the transaction took place. But now, a consumer can lodge a complaint from wherever he lives.
Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, said this new Act will empower consumers and help them in protecting their rights through its many notified Rules and provisions like as
CPC(Consumer Protection Councils), CDRC(Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions), Mediation, Product Liability and punishment for manufacture or sale of products containing spurious goods.
A significant note for customers under this Act is that there will be no fee for filing cases up to Rs 5 lakh. There are provisions for filing complaints electronically, credit of amount due to unidentifiable consumers to Consumer Welfare Fund (CWF).
The State Commissions will furnish information to central government on a quarterly basis on vacancies, disposal, pendency of cases and other matters, the release said.
He added that under this Act, every e-commerce entity is required to provide information relating to return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment, modes of payment, grievance redressal system, methods of payment, methods of security of payment, including country of origin, which are necessary for enabling the consumer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage on its platform.
He said e-commerce platforms have to acknowledge the receipt of any consumer complaint within forty-eight hours and redress the complaint within one month from the date of receipt under this Act.
Paswan noted that in earlier Consumer Protection Act, single-point access to justice was given, which is also time-consuming. He said this Act will prove a significant tool to protect the rights of consumers in the country.
“Very significant change in the law. So far, much of the advertising was left to goodwill. The maximum recourse was given to ASCI and ASCI was a convenient subterfuge for companies. For the consumer, it was a very disturbing process for the consumer to take the company to task. ASCI, at best time used to rap the company on the knuckles after a long time and by that time, the advertisement had run its full course. Since government machinery has moved, the power to prosecute or penalize is there now..