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  • Writer's pictureRitik Agrawal

LAW OF TORTS: STUDY ON CONSUMER PROTECTON LAWS AND ITS AWARENESS AMONG CONSUMERS

Updated: Jan 16

Author: Siddhi Singh,

IOL, Jiwaji University


ABSTRACT

At last, the 3-decade old Customer Protection Act 1986 has been supplanted by Consumer Protection Act, 2019. This substitution was the need of current Indian buyers. In this respect if we look at the figures/statistics it could be observed that almost 329 million Indian residents will purchase items on the web, which implies 70% of portable web clients will shop on the web. Assuming we see this number, The New Consumer Protection 2019 will be exceptionally useful to Indian customers.


INTRODUCTION

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (Act) was presented in the Lok Sabha by Food and Public distribution undertaking Minister Mr. Ram Vilas Pawan, on 8th July 2019. This 2019 Consumer protect Bill was passed in Lok Sabha on 30th July 2019, and on 6th August 2019 in the Rajya Sabha. It was informed in the Official gazette on 9th August 2019, as the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, No. 35 of 2019. The New Act of Consumer Protection replaces the Act of 1986.


NEED

The main reason behind implementing Consumer Protection Act, 2019 was considering the new online buyers and also making them well informed with their rights and liabilities as online buyers. These all buyers need to get the protection from laws and for the same this new law has been implemented and put in force on 30th July 2019.


COMPARISON

The New Act replaces the 1986 Consumer Protection Act. Some new key features have been introduced in the new act for improving the condition of online customers and letting them know their rights and liabilities being an online buyer or using online mode for making daily usage.

Meaning of Consumer:

The Old Consumer Protection Act provides the meaning of "consumer" as simply restricted to purchasing of products or services, it didn't discuss about online buyers, offline buyers, shopping by tele shoppers and so on so forth New demonstration has extended the meaning of purchaser it incorporates portrayal about online exchanges and disconnected footings, mail order shopping and staggered promoting and direct selling. Presently new Act likewise covers online exchanges, old Act was additionally covering on the web exchanges yet about these online exchanges or transactions done through an online mode have not been covered by the old act and this aspect have been covered in this new Act.

Product Liability:

This concept is explained in New Consumer Protection Act, 2019. Old act only used to discuss about only physical injuries but new act paid special focus on mental issues or emotional problems caused due the product being provided to consumers. For example: If any product damage your property but it does not harm to in any manner and in due of that you suffer emotional stress in that case the consumer can file a complaint against a company manufacturer. Here, in this case Product manufacturer will also be held liable even if he was not involved while selling, distributing or in any manner with the product or services to be provided to the customer.[i] So, manufacturers will have to keep in mind that they need to manufacture and sell only best quality of products and services. If we give a look at this new concept of 2019 Act, product liability then, the government is giving order or forcely giving stress to make a innovative or unique product so the consumer can get satisfaction as well as stay protected which will help in maintaining the a really nice environment and the implementations in 2019 Act could be done in its best way.

Increase in Pecuniary Jurisdiction:

According to Consumer Protection Act, 1986 the District Consumer Court was allowed to handle cases for goods or services worth value up to 20 lacs only and now this limit has been increased up to 1 crore according to Consumer Protection Act, 2019. State Consumer courts were allowed to deal with the cases for goods or services till the limit of 20 lacs to 1 crore, now in new limit has been set up and this has been increased now, for State Consumer Court and they can deal with the cases with the minimum limit of 1 crore to 10 crores and National Court will be dealing with the cases where the value of goods or services is more than 10 crores.[ii] If we observe this new act, Consumer Protection Act, 2019 then, we can see that more power has been given to district and state courts by this new act. Now, consumers need not to visit National Court for getting help as all their grievances would be solved very easily without wasting their time.

Unfair Trading Practices:

With the help of new act of 2019, one of the biggest amendments is that, this act has widened the definition of Unfair Trade Practices. New act says that, private information of customer’s should kept hidden and it should not be shared with any other person or institution without prior permission of the customer which means that consent of customer should be there if any personal data is been given to any third person with whom the customer has not given permission or consent for the same.[iii] The condition which has been put forth “without permission no data to be transferred” is the biggest and bold step has been taken in this new act which is surely very beneficial for the customers.

Regulatory Authority:

According to Consumer Protection Act, 1986 there was no particular section which was dedicated and discussed about the regulating authority for protection of consumer rights, but in the new Consumer Protection Act 2019 Government of India (GOI) is planning to introduce a new regulating authority named “Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)”[iv]. CCPA will help in developing easy and effective process or plans for protecting the consumers from harms/losses arising out of the defective products or services. This will also help in developing the process for protecting the consumers from “Unfair Trade Practices”. The main objective of Central Consumer Protection Authority is to render advice in relation to promotion and protection of the consumers’ rights under this Act. Also, CCPA is the authority which has the highest powers for recalling of products or withdrawal of services which are not at all favourable to consumers, dangerous & hazardous or unsafe etc. According to this new Consumer Protection Act, 2019 each state will have State Consumer Protection Council which is also known as State Council and each district will have its District Council which will be governed and managed by District collectors.[v]

Mediation:

New Consumer Protection Act offers the option of mediation for resolving the disputes in speedy way which will be easier and time saving process. According to this amendment, mediation cell branches which will established in each state and help the consumer courts to lessen their burden as these courts are already overburdened with number of cases to be dealt.[vi]

E-commerce Platforms:

Now, according to Consumer Protection Act, 2019 e-commerce sites shall have to disclose their seller’s details on their product or services wherever it is possible. The details which are needed to be mentioned are: Seller’s contact number, email id, website and detailed address etc. to the buyers. There are very strict penalties mentioned for selling counterfeit products on these ecommerce platforms.

These are some of the significant amendments which have been done in this act of Consumer Protection Act, 1986. All these have been introducing while keeping in mind the convenience of customers.


OBJECTIVES

This new Bill has come across with many new provisions which is very helpful for today’s consumer. The Act has been framed/drafted to help customers and it tries to overcome loopholes which were there in the old Act, by providing basic rights to consumers who belong to the majority of this major sector called e-commerce (Online shopping). Indian Constitution also provides a basic 6 rights of a consumer which are listed below:

1. Right to safety

2. Right to Choose

3. Right to be informed

4. Right to consumer education

5. Right to be heard and

6. Right to seek redressal[vii]

This new Consumer Protection Bill is helping the customers to keep them secured and vigilant under these heads by introducing the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. The enactment of this bill also helps people to protect their rights and applying new procedures for the same.


RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

ANALYSIS

Though from this research, I came forward that seller has to keep personal information of buyer hidden so that no any business trafficking allowance. There are many companies who are engaged in selling of personal data to another company which deals in exchange of goods and services, selling personal data cause harm to the user, because giving a contact number, e-mail id, etc can make people mental harassment, this makes a unfair trade practice situation, promotional calls, counselling calls, sells services calls and e-mails starts coming to consumers.


FINDINGS & SUGGESTIONS

This huge step has been taken by Government of India by updating a 30 years old Consumer Protection Law and introducing the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. There are so many loopholes like, the new law speaks about online selling platforms will be also held liable for selling of faulty products or services. Now if this is considered, then all the online e-commerce giants like Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra, Snapdeal etc will have to setup the mechanism which will help to reduce selling of counterfeit products or faulty items on their platforms. That will be really threatening and dangerous to our economy, if some of them don’t find it easy or any way out for this then they might stop doing this business in our country so, for this I would lie to suggest that, Government of India (GOI) should also help these marketers or sellers in designing a uniform mechanism which will create win-win situation for both parties and losses will be faced by any of the parties.

Also, this law is newly introduced, I asked few general questions with relation to this law. I got to know that; people didn’t know much about this law. Also, those who were knowing were from legal background so, they had some knowledge regarding this few had general knowledge regarding this. As this is one of the essential laws for the people of India and this had been framed for their benefit only so. They have the right to know everything regarding this. Some of them even didn’t hers=d about this so, this is not correct in any manner. Government of India needs to take some step towards spreading awareness about this new department established from the redressal of the cases over here. What are the bodies that have been set up for these types of cases? What are the basis rights of the consumers? How they can benefit themselves from this new law? So that the necessary steps are needed to be taken otherwise, how citizens will know that this thing exist? [viii]

If we take a look at the new consumer protection act then it can be observed that many new terms and sections have been added to law. Online frauds are needed to be taken very seriously but over here; nothing has been mentioned about banking frauds because many banks claim that one can open the account with 0Rs. Balance and later after some period of time interest will be charged of minimum Rs.50 but those fines are sometimes not the same with every account holder having Rs.0 balance. Government need to establish the specific guidelines for banks for these kinds of misleading advertisements and wrong acts done.


REFRENCES [i] Law of Torts: Consumer Protection Act, https://www.lkouniv.ac.in/site/writereaddata/siteContent/202003281533580196varun_Consumer_Protection_Act_2019.pdf [ii] Shashan Garg, Pragya Chauhan, Interim relief by courts in an Arbitration: The battle of Section:9 https://www.barandbench.com/topic/pecuniary-jurisdiction (15 Jun, 2020 , 5:38 am) [iii] Advocate Khoj, Monopolistic and Restrictive Trade Practice, https://www.advocatekhoj.com/library/lawareas/mono/tradepractice.php?Title=Monopolistic%20and%20Restrictive%20Trade%20Practice&STitle=What%20is%20Unfair%20Trade%20Practice [iv] https://pib.gov.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=192499 [v] The Gazette of India, Ministry of Law and Justice, The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, http://egazette.nic.in/WriteReadData/2019/210422.pdf (9August, 2019), (Reg. No. DL—(N)04/0007/2003—19) [vi] Vivek Sable, Analysis of Consumer Protection Act, 2019 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340939875_Analysis_of_Consumer_Protection_Act_2019(April 2020) [vii] Constitution of India [viii] See Supra No.5

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