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OAS Mains Q&A: Consumer Protection Act, 2019

Context

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 came into force on 20th July 2020. The new Act empowers buyers to ask for replacements, refunds or damages from brands, e-tailers and service providers.

Aggrieved customers in India will now be able to seek effective legal remedy, on the lines of class action suits seen in many countries.

Question

Discuss the Salient features of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019

Sample Answer

The new Consumer Protection Act 2019, replacing more than three decades old Consumer Protection Act, 1986 seeks to revamp the process of administration and settlement of consumer disputes, with strict penalties, including jail term for adulteration and misleading ads by firms.

Salient Features of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019

Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA):

  • The law proposes a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to regulate matters of consumer rights, trade practices and advertisements prejudicial to the interests of the public, and to promote, protect and enforce the rights of the consumers as a class.
  • The proposed CCPA will be able to file suo motu cases on behalf of a class of customers, thereby initiating class action suits that would hold brands and e-tailers accountable.

Simplified Dispute Resolution Process:

  • Consumer Commissions are empowered to enforce their orders.
  • State Commissions & District Commissions can now review their own orders.
  • Ease of approaching Consumer Commissions through E-filing and video conferencing for hearing.

Mediation:

  • Mediation is prescribed as an Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism.
  • Reference to mediation by Consumer Commissions wherever scope for early settlement exists and parties agree for it.
  • No appeal against settlement through mediation.

Product Liability:

  • A manufacturer or product service provider or product seller to be responsible to compensate for injury or damage caused by defective product or deficiency in services.
  • This provision would deter manufacturers and service providers from delivering defective products or deficient services.
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