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Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection

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Published by Imran Rashid Dar
Consumer Protection act
Consumer Protection act

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Categories:Business/Law
Published by: Imran Rashid Dar on Aug 11, 2013
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AColossal Presentation onCONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 1986
 
Transition from `` to `
 
Caveat emptor `
 
Caveat vinditor 
 A consumer is a user of goods and services. Any person paying for goods and services, which he uses, is entitled toexpect that the goods and services are of a nature and quality promised to him by the seller.Only in 1932 it was firmly established by a House of Lords decision in
Donoghue v. Stevenson
(the `snail in theginger-beer `case) that manufacturers owed a duty to the ultimate consumer to take care in making their goods where there isno likelihood of their being examined before they reach the ultimate consumer. The origin of this judicial principle lie inthe fact that in today's mass production economy where there is little contact between the producer and consumer, oftensellers make exaggerated claims and advertisements, which they do not intend to fulfill. This leaves the consumer in adifficult position with very few avenues for redressal.The onset on intense competition also made producers aware of the benefits of customer satisfaction and hence byand large, the principle of " consumer is king" is now accepted
 – 
a transition from the principle of 
`
Caveat emptor 
` to`
Caveat vinditor 
`.
Source of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986
The need to recognize and enforce the rights of consumers was recognized by the legislators for quitesome time now. In India, we have the Indian Contract Act, the Sale of Goods Act, the Dangerous Drugs Act,the Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marketing) Act, the Indian Standards Institution (CertificationMarks) Act, the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, etc which to some extent protect consumer interests.However, these laws required the consumer to initiate action by way of a civil suit, which involved lengthylegal process proving, to be too expensive and time consuming for lay consumers. Therefore, the need for amore simpler and quicker access to redressal to consumer grievances was felt.On April 9, 1985 the UN General Assembly with due negotiations in the UN Economic andSocial Council (ECOSOC), adopted by consensus a set of guidelines on Consumer Protection serving as avital lobbying tool both nationally and internationally. India being a constituent member of United Nationsenacted the Consumer Protection Act 1986 on 23
rd
May 1986.The Act is in true essence public welfare legislation. The hall marks of that jurisdictionhave rightly been highlighted as the simplicity and inexpensive nature thereof, the summary procedure provided for trials therein, and the expeditious disposal of the consumer dispute within a time bound frame.
SOME IMPORTANT DEFINITIONS
[SECTION 2]
 
Complaint
- any allegation in writing made by a complainant with a view to obtaining any relief provided by or under this Act.
 
Nature of complaint
 (i) an unfair trade practice or a restrictive trade practice has been adopted by any trader or service provider 
 
(ii) the goods bought by complainant suffer from one or more defects;(iii) the services hired or availed of suffer from deficiency in any respect;(iv) a trader or the service provider, has charged for the goods or for the services a price in excess of the price(a) fixed by or under any law for the time being in force; (
Ex
 
 – 
telephony rates fixed by TRAI)(b) displayed on the goods or any package containing such goods;(c) displayed on the price list exhibited by him by (
Ex
 
 – 
Petrol, Diesel prices by Petrol pumps);(d) agreed between the parties (contracted price) ;(v) goods or services which will be hazardous to life and safety are being offered for sale to the public,
 
Consumer
- any person who(I) buys any goods for a consideration, or (ii) hires
or 
avails of any services for a consideration;It must be noted that a person who buys goods or avails services for commercial purposes is not a consumer.However, where a person buys goods or avails services exclusively for the purposes of earning hislivelihood by means of self-employment is a consumer.
The Act has not confined itself to the original hirer alone, but equally extended it to the subsequent beneficiaries of the services as well.
 
CASE EXAMPLE
 Parent who brings the child to hospital is 'consumer'. The child, who is beneficiary of the services is also aconsumer 
(
Spring Meadows Hospital 
v.
Harjot Ahluwalia 
 )
 
 
Defect
 
any fault, imperfection or shortcoming in the quality, quantity, potency, purity or standard,
 
which is required under any law to be maintained by or 
 
under any contract, express or implied or 
 
as is claimed by the trader in any manner whatsoever in relation to any goods;
 
Goods
goods as defined in the Sale of Goods Act, 1930.
 
CASE EXAMPLE
 
 
Stocks
 
and shares are included in the definition of the goods. In these circumstances the complaint in regardto the shares lies before the District Forum.
LC Chandgotya V. Northern Leqsing and Industries Ltd
.) 
 
 
NATIONAL INSURANCE CO. LTD. v. SKYGEMS
[2002(1) SCALE 94].
 
 
FACTS
:
The respondent, dealer in precious stones, had sent two parcels of emeralds by registered post dulyinsured to a consignee in London but the parcels did not reach their destination. The investigators appointed by the insurer confirmed that the parcels were either lost in transit or were stolen. The postal authoritiesadmitted their liability and made payment of postal charges in respect of each parcel. The insured agreed tosettle the claim. But the respondents insisted that the payment of the insured amount be made in PoundSterling in London. The insurer denied its liability to pay the amount in Pounds sterling on the ground that
 
the title in the goods had not passed to the consignee and that it (the respondent) continued to be the owner of the goods and so the payment could be made only in Indian Rupees.
 
The National Consumers Disputes Redressal Commission held that as the insurance policies clearly statedthat the claim was payable at London and the insured value was in terms of Pounds Sterling the insurer should pay the amount in Pounds Sterling.
 
In appeal to the Supreme Court the respondent reiterated its claim that the insurance policy specificallystated that the amount was payable at London and that it should be paid only in Ponds Sterling at Londonand not in Indian rupees in India.
 
Allowing the insurer's appeal, the Supreme Court
held:
 
 
DECISION AND REASONS
:
Having regard to the facts and circumstances the appellant could not besaid to be liable to pay the insurance amount in Pounds Sterling.
 
From the correspondence between the parties it was evident that the consignee did not pay the value of themissing parcels to the respondent nor was there any evidence to show that the documents were endorsed infavour of the consignee and transferred to them. The title to the goods had not clearly passed to theconsignee and the respondent consignor continued to be the owner having insurable interest in the goods.
 
The right of the buyer to claim the policy amount would arise when he obtained title to the property and produced the documents of transfer. This clearly showed that the title had not passed to the consignee inLondon. Under such circumstances the respondent was not entitled to receive the payment in PoundsSterling. The National Commission erred in stating that the insurance amount was payable at London.
 
In
Harjot Ahluwalia (Minor), Spring Meadows Hospital
 
an unqualified nurse gave wrong intravenousinjection to a minor child, due to which the minor child suffered irreparable brain damage. The child nowhas to live vegetative and helpless life forever, requiring lifelong care and attention. The doctor as well asthe nurse was found to be negligent and compensation of Rs 12.50 lakhs to the child, plus Rs 5.00 lakhs tothe parent (for mental agony) were awarded.
PROCEDURE OF FILLING COMPLAINT
 
 
Who can file a complaint? 
 
 
A Consumer.
 
 
Any registered Voluntary Consumer Organization.
 
 
The Central or State Government.
 
 
One or more consumers on behalf of numerous consumers who are having the same interest.
 
 
When a complaint can be filed? 
 
 
A complaint can be filed in writing if: -
 
 
Consumer has suffered loss or damage as a result of any unfair Trade Practice.
 
 
The goods purchased suffer from any defect;
 

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