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THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT

B.Pavan Kumar, Director B5 Consulting Private Limited

INTRODUCTION
What is consumerism  Gone are the days when the consumers were treated as slaves.


Shift from Sellers market to buyers market. Industrial development has led to the influx of various goods and services in the market. Consumer is the king of the market

Why Consumer Protection Act? Act?




Court fees earlier used to deter consumers Nominal fees under CPA Court procedures simplified lawyer not mandatory Faster Redressal of grievances

CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT 1986




The act was passed in Lok Sabha on 9th December,1986 and Rajya Sabha on 10th December, 1986 assented by the President of India on 24th December, 1986 and was published in the Gazette of India on 26th December, 1986.

Objects and Applicability of the Act

1.To Provide for better protection of interest of consumers. 2.To establish the Consumer Councils 3.To empower the Consumer Councils and other authorities to settle disputes and matters connected. The Act in terms of geographical application extends to the whole of India except Jammu & Kashmir. and compensatory in nature.

Basic Definitions & Concepts


1.Complainant {Sec 2(1)b}:


A Consumer An association of consumer registered under Companies Act of 1956. The Central or State Govt. One or more consumers having same interest.

Cont


The legal Heir or representative in case of death of the consumer.

Def of Complaint {Sec 2(1)b}




Complaint means any allegation in writing made by a complainant thatthat-

1)An unfair trade practice or a restrictive trade practice has been adopted by any trader or service provider. 2)Goods bought by him or agreed to be bought by him suffer from defects. 3)Services hired or availed or agreed to be hired suffer from deficiency in any respect.

Cont..
4)A trader or the service provider as the case may be has charged for the goods or for the services mentioned in the complaint, a price in excess of the price. 5)Goods and Services which are hazardous to life and safety when used are being offered for sale to the public.

Consumer {Sec2(1)d}


A person who buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised or any other user of such goods when such user is made with the approval of the buyer. OR A person who hires or avails of any services for consideration which has been paid or promised or partly promised or under any system of deferred payment.

(Imp Consumer does not include a person who obtains goods or avails services for commercial purpose or re-sale.) re-

Are the following consumers


 Winner of a lottery


Warranty of free service. Passenger traveling by train. A person registering for gas connection. Subscriber of telephones. User of electricity.

Cont..


User of sewerage system laid down by Municipal Corporation. Purchaser of equipment using it by himself in the practice of his profession. Parents of the infant person. Subscriber to a provident fund.

Cont..


Person buying goods for resale use in large scale profit making activity. Insurance Company

CPA does not apply to




Service rendered free of charge, or

Under a contract of personal service

Contract of personal service / Contract for service

Services rendered by doctors / hospitals for payment are covered under this Act, as they are not Contract of Personal Services but Contract for Services. Services. Contract of Personal Service involves Master - Servant Master Relationship

Master Servant Relationship (as per National Commission Decision)


i) The employers (masters) power of selection of his employee (servant) ii) The payment of wages or other remuneration. iii) The employers right of suspension or dismissal iv) The employers right to control the method of doing the work.

CONSUMERS NEED PROTECTION AGAINST


Unfair trade practice Restrictive trade practice Defects Deficiencies

Cont.
UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICE


Adopting unfair methods or deception to promote sale, use or supply of goods or services e.g. Misleading public about price (e.g. bargain price when it is not so). Charging above MRP printed. Misleading public about anothers goods or services. Falsely claiming a sponsorship, approval or affiliation. Offering misleading warranty or guarantee.

Cont

Misleading public about anothers goods or services.

Falsely claiming a sponsorship, approval or affiliation.

Offering misleading warranty or guarantee.

Consumer Complaint
RESTRICTIVE TRADE PRACTICE
y

Price fixing or output restraint re: delivery/flow of supplies re: to impose unjustified costs/restrictions on consumers. consumers. Collusive tendering; market fixing territorially among tendering; competing suppliers, depriving consumers of free choice, fair competition. competition. Supplying only to particular distributors or on condition of sale only within a territory. territory. Delaying in supplying goods/services leading to rise in price. price.

Consumer Complaint

DEFECTS


Any fault, imperfection or shortcoming in the quality, quantity, potency, purity or standard which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or under any contract express or implied or as is claimed by the trader in any manner whatsoever in relation to any goods. goods.

DEFICIENCY  Any fault, imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature and manner of performance which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or has been undertaken to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any service. service.

CONSUMER DISPUTE

COVERED UNDER SECTION 2(1)(c).

THE PERSON AGAINST WHOM A COMPLAINT IS MADE DENIES THE ALLEGATIONS CONTAINED IN THE COMPLAINT. COMPLAINT.

Where do I file my complaint???

Pecuniary Jurisdiction Territorial Jurisdiction Consumer Forum Time period for filing complaint Within 2 years

FORUM & JURISDICTION




Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums (District Forum)  Claims less than or equal Rs.20 lacs. Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (State Commission) Commission)
Claim

more than Rs.20 lacs & less than Rs.1 crore & appeals.

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (National Commission)


Claim

equal to Rs.1 crore & appeals

District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum




Covered under section 2(1)(h). A consumer disputes redressal forum established under clause (a) of section 9. Established by the state government in each district of the state by notification. Entertain complaints of compensation < twenty lakhs

Cont


Complaint filed in the local limits where the opposite party resides, or carries on his business or works for gain or, Where the cause of action arises.

Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (State Commission)




Covered under section 2(1)(p). A consumer disputes redressal commission established under clause (b) of section 9. Established in each state Entertains complaints for compensation > twenty lakhs but < one crore

NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION

Covered under section 2(1)(k). National consumer disputes redressal commission established under clause (c) of section 9. Established by the central government by notification. Jurisdiction for complaints where compensation > one crore

Who can file a complaint ???




A consumer; or Any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act, 1956 or under any other law for the time being in force, or The Central Government or any State Government, One or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest.

Content of Consumer Complaint




Details of the complainant. Details of the opposite party or parties. The facts relating to complaint and when and where it arose. Documents, if any, in support of the allegations contained in the complaint. Relief which the complainant is seeking.

Fees for filing a complaint




Up to 1 Lakh Rs.100. 1 Lakh & above but less that 5 Lakhs Rs.200. 5 Lakhs & above but less that 10 Lakhs Rs.400. 10 Lakhs & above but less that 20 Lakhs Rs. 500

Appeals


Person aggrieved can appeal to the State Commission within a period of thirty days Deposit 50% per cent of the amount or 35000 rupees, whichever is less. less. Non compliance of CPA order shall be punishable with imprisonment not less than one month but which may extend to three years, years, Fine not less than Rs 2000, may extend to Rs 10,000, or with 10,000, both

Non compliance of order


Non compliance of CPA order shall be punishable with imprisonment not less than one month but which may extend to three years, years, Fine not less than Rs 2000, may extend to Rs 10,000, or with 10,000, both

Dismissal of Frivolous Or Vexatious Complaints


Dismiss the complaint Complainant to pay the opposite party amount not exceeding ten thousand rupees

Right of Consumers


Right to Safety. Right to be informed. Right to Choose. Right to be heard. Right of Seek Redress.

Cont


Right to Consumer Education. Right to a Healthy Environment.

Remedies Under Consumer Protection Act




To remove the defects pointed out by the appropriate laboratory from goods in question. To replace the goods with new goods of similar description which shall be free from any defect To return to the complainant the price, or, as the case may be, the charges paid by the complainant. Compensation for loss of negligence on part of consumer

Cont


To withdraw the hazardous goods from being offered for sale To cease from manufacturing of hazardous goods Loss of injury of consumer Issue of corrective advertisement Provision of adequate costs to parties

   

Cont


To discontinue the unfair trade practice or the restrictive trade practice or not to repeat them. Not to offer the hazardous goods for sale. To remove the defects or deficiencies in the services in question.