The Rajya Sabha recently 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 and will replace the old Consumer Protection Act, 1986 with several new provisions and rules which never existed in the country.
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.
Here are the six consumer rights everyone should be aware of:
Where before a consumer could file a case only where the product was bought now as per the new law they can easily file a complaint either at the District Consumer Commission or State Consumer Commission, irrespective of where the seller has their registered office.
Consumers can now file a case against a manufacturer or a manufacturing body including e-commerce online bodies and all other lines of services incase they receive any defective or damaged products.
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.
As per the law 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.
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.
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.