You are on page 1of 14

What Is a Consumer And

What Are The Rights


Guranted To A Consumer
Under Consumer Protection
Act , 1986

Submitted to- Ms.Anju Berwal

Submitted by- Deeksha

Class- BA LLB(Hons), roll no.-11


Acknowledgement
I really wants to thanks Ms. Anju Berwal for providing me this
opportunity to make this project. I came through lot of knowledge
regarding who is a consumer and consumer rights while making
this project.
Consumer protection act 1986
Consumer protection act is an act of the parliamentof india enacted on 24
december 1986 to protect the interest of consumer in india it makes provisions for
the establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement of
consumer disputes and for matter connected therewith.
This consumer protection bill 1986 was passed by both the houses of parliament
and it received the assent of the President on 24 december 1986, the act came into
force on 5 april 1987 except chapter 3 rd which came into operation on 1 july

,1987. It came on the statute book as the ‘Consumer Protection

Act , 1986 (68 or 1986) ‘


In present day parlance, consumer is supposed to be the king and business is
expected to provide maximum possible satisfaction to consumers. But in reality,
consumers are often exploited. A large majority of consumers are often deprived
of their rights. They are often exploited through misleading advertisements, poor
quality goods, fractional weights and measures, overcharging, etc.1 So the objective
of the act is to provide simple, speedy and inexpensive redressal to the aggrieved
consumers and reliefs of a specific nature and award of compensation wherever
appropriate to the consumer.This act applies to all goods and services unless
specifically exempted by the central govt . it intends to cover all sector including

1
http://customer-service.knoji.com/need-for-consumer-protection/ Last visited : August 16,2014
public, private or cooperative .2 It is applicable in whole country except in the state
of Jammu and Kashmir.
This act had been amended three times :
 The consumer protection(amendment) act, 1991
 The consumer protection (amendment) act, 1993
 The cosumer protection (amendment ) act, 2002

Who is consumer ?
As the word itself defines its meaning that the consumer is a person who uses or
consumes something.

If a person buys or purchase a book, fan, any eatables, a cellphone or a


refrigerator then he is the consumer of the goods. OR If a person take the
service for transaction from the bank or service from railway,post office, transport
etc then he is the consumer of services.
The term “consumer” is defined in Section2(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act,
1986 in two parts, one in reference of a consumer who purchases goods and
second in reference of a person who hires services.
According to Section 2(1)(d) of Consumer Protection Act, 1986:
“Consumer” is any person who:
(i) buys goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid
or partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any

2
Iyer Ramaswamy, The Law of Torts, Lexis Nexis, Butterworth, 2003 pg 932
user of such goods other than the person who buys such goods for consideration
paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised, or under any other system of
deferred payment, when such use is made with the approval of such person, but
does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or any commercial
purpose; or
(ii) [hires or avails of] any service for a consideration which has been paid or
partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and
includes any beneficiary of such services for consideration paid or promised, or
partly paid or partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment when
such services are availed of with the approval of the first mentioned person [but
does not include a person who avails of such services for commercial purpose];3
Thus any person who:
1. buys goods for consideration, or
2. hires or avails of any service for consideration, is a consumer.
Here the term any person means that any individual, corporate body, film, or any
group of association or persons. It also includes the companies, institutions and
group of persons.
And the term for consideration means that goods bought or services aviled must
be of some cosideration.Payment of tax which goes into the general revenue of the
state or local authority will not legally constitute payment of consideration for any
specific service.4

3 rd
Bangia R.K, law of torts, allahabad law agency,23 edition, 2013, pg: 520-521
4
A.Srinivas Murthi vs. Chairman, Bangalore Development Authority(1991) I CPR 529
The maintenance of public roads and highways by the government may be
considered to have hired this service for consideration.5
A person who goes to receive medical treatment in a Government Hospital is not a
consumer.6
If you go in a bhandara ,there you eat some food and you become sick after eating
that food. Then you can’t file the case under C.P.A as you had given no
consideration for that food . you can claim for damages under tort, for
neglegience but not under the CPA.
If a free eye medical camp is organised and you visit that camp ,you take the
medicine from the doctors attending the patients there without paying any charge
or consideration. After using that medicine you lost your eyesight , then you
cann’t claim for the damages under the C.P.A, as the services were offered free of
cost.

 Consumer as buyer of goods for consideration :

The ‘Buyer of goods for a consideration’ is a consumer. The Act, unlike the sale of
goods act, 1930,7 does not insist on money consideration only. Transactions of
tranfers for services, or barter or exchange will come within the purview of the act.

8
In Motor Sales and Service v. Renji Sebastian, the complainant booked a hero

5
S.M.N. Consumer protection Council v Chief Engineer Highways and rural works, (1992) I CPR 107 (Mad)
6
Consumer Unity Trust Society v. State of Rajasthan (1991) I CPR 241 (NC)
7
See Sec. 2(10), Sale Of Goods Act, 1930
8
1991 C.P.R. 158(Kerala)
honda for consideration. His turn was ignored. The dealer was ordered to give
him the vehicle at the price on the day of his turn for the same and to pay him a
compensation of Rs.500 in addition.

Consumer as the user of goods :


User of goods can also be termed as consumer when he or she uses the things
with the approval of the person who buys that thing for some consideration from
the seller.

Purchaser for Re-sale or commercial purpose :


Position under the 1986 act :- according to section 2(d)(i), the term “consumer”
did not include a person who obtained such goods for resale or for any
“commercial purpose”. Thus a purchaser of a paper copier machine for business
purposes was held to be not a consumer.9
A purchaser of goods for reselling them, or a purchaser of taxi for plying the
same on hire, or purchaser of a V.C.R for running a video library/parlour, or the
purchaser of a machinery for its commercial use was also held to be not a
consumer .10
Position after the 1993 amendment act :- in the amendment done in thus act in
1993 a new explanation was added in section 2(d) which is :

9
Sale Office System Pvt Ltd. v. M.K. Jindal, 1991 (2) CPJ 110
10 rd
Bangia R.K, law of torts, allahabad law agency,23 edition, 2013,pg 522-523
‘for the purpose of sub clause (i), “commercial purpose “ does not include use by
the consumer of goods bought and used by him exclusively for the purpose of his
livelyhood by the means of self employment.
If a person purchase a taxi or a photostating machine, which is used by him for
purpose of earning his livelyhood by means of self-employment, that will not
considered for the commercial purpose. Such a person will be considered as a
consumer under the C.P.A .
In the case law Sterling Computer Limited v. P.R. Kutty,11 the complainant
purchased a computer for his personal use, which was to be used by his office staff
for the purpose of business. The complainant was a contractor by profession. The
computer was being not used to earn his livelyhood. The computer did not work
properly from the very beginning .
The National Commision in this case held that the computer was purchased for
the commercial purpose and the complainant was not a consumer. The complaint
was therefore dismissed.
 Consumer as hirer of services:-
According to section 2(d)(ii), any person who hires services for a consideration is
a consumer .

Any person who hires or avails of any service for a consideration which has been
paid or promised or under any system of deferred payment. Thus, any person
who hires or avails of any service for consideration is a consumer.
11
I (1991) C.P.J. 118(N.C.)
In society there are so many fields in which services are rendered by individuals,
institutions weather private or statutory specially banks, Telephone department,
Post Offices, Insurance, weather life or general, Railways, Doctors, Caterers,
Contractors, Transport Operators, Engineers etc. for consideration.
In the case law Karnataka Power Transmisson Corpn. Ltd. v. Ashok Iron Works
Pvt. Ltd.,12 the question before the Supreme Court was whether a private limited
company was included in the term “person” for the purposes of the section 2(1) (d)
of the Act, 1986.
Section 2(1)(m) of the Act , 1986 , enumerates the following four categories to be
included in the term “person”:
1) A firm whether registered or not;
2) A H.U.F
3) A Co-opt. society ; and
4) every other association of persons whether registered under the Societies
Registration Act,1860 or not
The Court in the above given case held that non- supply of electricity to a
manufacturing unit, by the transmission company within the fixed time,
amounted to deficiency in service and a compliant for the same was maintable ,
before the consumer forum.13
Beneficiary of the services:-

12
A.I.R. 2009 S.C. 1905
13 rd
Bangia R.K , Law of Torts, Allahabad Law Agency, 23 edition, 2013,pg 524
In respect of services, the beneficiary of such services is also a consumer. It
includes any beneficiary of services for consideration paid or promised, or under
any system of deferred payment, when such services are availed of with approval
the hirer.

Exceptions who is not a consumer

1. Buyer of goods without consideration: It is clear from the provision of the Act
that to be consumer one must buy goods for consideration. So, any one gets
without consideration is nor a consumer.

2. Hirer of Services without consideration: On the analogy of the hier of this service
for consideration it is obvious that one who avails of any service, without
consideration is not a consumer.
3. Buyer for resale: The definition of consumer doesn’t include a person who
obtains such goods for resale or any other commercial purpose.14

4. Commercial purpose: This is the last and most important exception. By the
definition it is clear that a buyer of goods for commercial purposes is not a
consumer.

14
S 2 (1) (d) (i)
Consumer Rights Under The Consumer
Protection Act
The Act has provided six rights to the consumers, namely – right to safety, right
to be informed, right to choose, right to be heard, right to seek redressal and right
to consumer education.15

1. Right to Safety: The right to safety means the right to be protected against
the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property.
Increasing affluence and increasing range of complex consumer goods have led
to the situation in which the unsafe goods get their way in the market. Such
unsafe goods may cause death or serious injury due to defective ingredients, or
defective design, or poor workmanship. Consumers should be instructed of
proper use of goods and should be informed about the risks involved in
intended or foreseeable use.

2. Right to Information: The right to information means that the right to


be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of
goods and services so as to protect the consumers against unfair trade practises.

3. Right to Choose: The right to choose means the right to be assured

15
Agarwal, VK, Law of Consumer Protection, BLH Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi,2009
wherever possible, access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices.
Fair and effective competition must be encouraged in order to provide consumers
with the greatest range of choice among products and services at the lower cost.

4. Right to be heard: The right to be heard also includes the right to be


assured that the consumer interest will receive due consideration at appropriate
forums. The consumer disputes be resolved in a fair and expeditious manner. The
Consumer Protection Act, 1986 conforms to these measures.

5. Right to seek redressal: Consumer must have right to seek redressal


against unfair trade practises or restrictive trade practises or their unscrupulous
exploitation. The consumer should have some means of redressal when goods fail
to live up to their promise or indeed cause injury. The Consumer Protection act,
1986 provides for establishment of Consumer Dispusal Redressal agencies in
order to enable the consumer organisations to obtain redress through the
procedures that are expeditious, fair, inexpensive and accessible.

6. Right to Consumer Education: The right of every Indian citizen to


have education on matters regarding consumer protection as well as about
her/his right is regarded as the last right provided by the Consumer Protection
Act 1986. The right makes sure that the consumers in the country have
informational programs and materials which are easily accessible and would
enable them to make purchasing decisions which are better than before.
Consumer education might refer to formal education through college and school
curriculums as well as consumer awareness campaigns being run by non-
governmental and governmental agencies both. Consumer NGOs, having little
endorsement from the government of India, basically undertake the task of
ensuring the consumer right throughout the country.16

16
http://www.consumerrights.org.in/to-consumer-education.htm Last visited: 23.08.2014
Bibliography
1. Bangia R.K. , Law of torts, Allahabad Law Agency, 23RD
Edition,2013
2. Iyer Ramaswamy, The Law of Torts, Lexis Nexis, Butterworth,
2003
3. Agarwal, VK, Law of Consumer Protection, BLH Publishers
Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi,2009
4. www.customer-service.knoji.com
5. www.consumerrights.org.in