Consumer Protection Act, 1986 “The customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption on our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider on our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so” ~ MAHATMA GANDHI
Cabinet Minister : Sh. Sharad Pawar Minister of State : Prof K.V. Thomas
Introduction The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted for better protection of the interests of consumers. The provisions of the Act came into force with effect from 15-4-87. Consumer Protection Act imposes strict liability on a manufacturer, in case of supply of defective goods by him, and a service provider, in case of deficiency in rendering of its services. The term “defect” and “deficiency”, as held in a catena of cases, are to be couched in the widest horizon of there being any kind of fault, imperfection or shortcoming. Furthermore, the standard, which is required to be maintained, in services or goods is not to be restricted to the statutory mandate but shall extend to that claimed by the trader, expressly or impliedly, in any manner whatsoever.
Who is Consumer ? When a person purchase & uses goods or hires & beneficiary services for private use or consumption. • Who is not Consumer ? A person is not consumer if - a) he obtain the goods for '' resale'' or for any ''commercial purpose'' ; b) buys goods or higher services without consideration ; c) who purchase goods for the purpose of earning profit • What is Goods ? every kind of actionable property other than claims and money. • Who is Person ? a person includes - • a) a firm whether registered or not ; • b) a hindu undivided family ; • c) a co- operative society ; • d) every other association or person whether registered under the societies registration act or not
What is Service ? Service means service of any description which is made available to potential users. • Who is Trader ? A trader is a person who - a) sells goods; or b) distributes or manufacture of any goods for sale; • Who is Manufacturer ? A manufacturer is a person who - a) maker or manufactures any goods or parts thereof ; or b) assembles parts of the goods made or manufactured by others ; or c) puts his own mark on any goods made or manufactured by any other manufacturer. • What is Complaint ? A complaint is any allegation in writing made by a complainant that - a) an ''unfair trade practice'' or a ''restrictive trade practice'' adopted by any trader or service provider ;b) the goods bought by him or agreed to be bought by him, suffer from one or more ''defects'' .
DEFINATIONS(Sec. 2) (A) Appropriate laboratory[Sec. 2 (1) (a)].: It means a laboratory or organization— • (i) recognized by the Central Government; • (ii) recognized by a State Government, subject to such guidelines as may be prescribed by the Central Government in this behalf; or • (iii) any such laboratory or organization established by or under any law for the time being in force, which is maintained, financed or aided by the Central Government or a State Government for carrying out analysis or test of any goods with a view to determining whether such goods suffer from any defect, (AA) "branch office" means— • (i) any establishment described as a branch by the opposite party; or • (ii) any establishment carrying on either the same or substantially the same activity as that carried on by the head office of the establishment.
(B) Complainant [Sec. 2 (1) (b)].: Complainant means — • (i) a consumer; or • (ii) any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act, 1956 (1of 1956)or under any other law for the time being in force; or • (iii) the Central Government or any State Government, • (iv) one or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest; • (v) in case of death of a consumer, his legal heir or representative; who or which makes a complaint.
(C) Complaint [Sec. 2 (1) (c)].: It means any allegation in writing made by a complainant that— • (i) an unfair trade practice or a restrictive trade practice has been adopted by any trader or service provider; • (ii) the goods bought by him or agreed to be bought by him; suffer from one or more defects; • (iii) the services hired or availed of or agreed to be hired or availed of by him suffer from deficiency in any respect; • (iv) a trader or service provider, as the case may be, has charged for the goods or for the service mentioned in the complaint a price in excess of the price – • (a) fixed by or under any law for the time being in force • (b) displayed on the goods or any package containing such goods ; • (c) displayed on the price list exhibited by him by or under any law for the time being in force; • (d) agreed between the parties; • (v) goods which will be hazardous to life and safety when used or being offered for sale to the public,-- • (A) in contravention of any standards relating to safety of such goods as required to be complied with, by or under any law for the time being in force; • (B) if the trader could have known with due diligence that the goods so offered are unsafe to the public; • (vi) services which are hazardous or likely to be hazardous to life and safety of the public when used, are being offered by the service provider which such person could have known with due diligence to be injurious to life and safety.
(D) Consumer [Sec. 2 (1) (d)].: Consumer means any person who— • (i) buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any 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 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 for any commercial purpose; or • (ii) hires or avails of any services for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any beneficiary of such services other than the person who 'hires or avails of the services for consideration paid or promised, or partly paid and 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 any commercial purposes; • Explanation.— For the purposes of this clause, “commercial purpose” does not include use by a person of goods bought and used by him and services availed by him exclusively for the purposes of earning his livelihood by means of self-employment
(E) Consumer dispute [Sec. 2 (1) (e)].: It means a dispute where the person against whom a complaint has been made, denies or disputes the allegations contained in the complaint. (F) Defect [Sec. 2 (1) (f)].: It means 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 under any contract, express or implied or as is claimed by the trader in any manner whatsoever in relation to any goods; (G) Deficiency [Sec. 2 (1) (g)].: It means 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; (H) District Forum [Sec. 2 (1) (h)].: It means a Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum established under clause (a) of section 9; (I) Goods [Sec. 2 (1) (i)].: It means goods as defined in the Sale of Goods Act, 1930 (3 of 1930);
(J) Manufacturer [Sec . 2 (1) (f)].: It means a person who— • (i) makes or manufactures any goods or part thereof; or • (ii) does not make or manufacture any goods but assembles parts thereof made or manufactured by others; or • (iii) puts or causes to be put his own mark on any goods made or manufactured by any other manufacturer; • Explanation. — Where a manufacturer dispatches any goods or part thereof to any branch office maintained by him, such branch office shall not be deemed to be the manufacturer even though the parts so dispatched to it are assembled at such branch office and are sold or distributed from such branch office. (K) National Commission [Sec. 2(1) (k)].: It means the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission established under clause (c) of section 9. (M) Person [Sec. 2(1) (m)] Person includes,— • (i) a firm whether registered or not; • (ii) a Hindu undivided family; • (iii) a co-operative society; • (iv) every other association of persons whether registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (21 of 1860) or not;
(N) Regulation [Sec. 2 (1) (nnn)].: Restrictive trade practice”a means a trade practice which tends to bring about manipulation of price or conditions of delivery or to affect flow of supplies in the market relating to goods or services in such a manner as to impose on the consumers unjustified costs or restrictions and shall include— • (a) delay beyond the period agreed to by a trader in supply of such goods or in providing the services which has led or is likely to lead to rise in the price; • (b) any trade practice which requires a consumer to buy, hire or avail of any goods or, as the case may be, services as condition precedent to buying, hiring or availing of other goods or services; (O) Service [Sec. 2 (1) (o)].: It means service of any description which is made available to potential users and includes, but not limited to, the provision of facilities in connection with banking, financing insurance, transport, processing, supply of electrical or other energy, board or lodging or both, housing construction, entertainment, amusement or the purveying of news or other information, but does not include the rendering of any service free of charge or under a contract of personal service; (R) Spurious goods and services [Sec. 2 (1) (r)].: It mean such goods and services which are claimed to be genuine but they are actually not so; (P) State Commission [Sec. 2 (1) (p)].: It means a Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission established in a State under clause (b) of section 9. (Q) Trader [Sec. 2 (1) (q)].: In relation to any goods means a person who sells or distributes any goods for sale and includes the manufacturer thereof, and where such goods are sold or distributed in package form, includes the packer thereof
Cases • A Swedish consumer ordered music CDs from a British web trader. The consumer did not receive delivery of the CDs and the company did not respond to his e-mails. At this point, the consumer contacted the Swedish ECC for advice and assistance. The Swedish ECC sent two e-mails to the web trader, in which the seller was asked to look into the case and to find an amicable solution. However, the web trader did not reply to these e-mails and the case was transferred to the UK ECC. They contacted the web trader by fax and e-mail, and managed to get a response from the company. The consumer reported a month later that he had finally received everything he had ordered. By that time, almost six months had passed since he had placed the order. • A Spanish consumer buys a CD from a Belgian web trader but the CD is never received. The trader claims that he has send the CD by postal mail and ask the Belgian Post to check the case. The Belgian Post answers they do not find his package, so it has to be delivered. As the package was not sent by • registered post, the seller has no proof. He says that it is to expensive to send small packages by delivered post. • A French consumer buys a second hand car through the Internet with a Belgian web trader. He pays €950.00 in advance, but the car was never delivered. When ECC Belgium contacts the trader to point out what his obligations are, he answers that the consumer then has to go to justice to get his money back.
Application (1.) UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICE :- It is for the complainant to establish that he suffered loss by damage on account of Unfair Trade Practice adopted by any trader. According to Trade Practice Act, 1969 ( Sec.2(1) (r) ) the unfair trade practice means a trade practice which provide for the purpose of promoting the sale, use or supply of any goods or for the provision of any service, a trading adopts any unfair method or deceptive practice. Unfair trade practice in not only related to goods but also related to services rendered. Collecting repair and service charges but not repairing the goods sold is known as unfair trade practice. It includes any of the following practices, namely ; (A) Marketing Statement : A trader adopts the practice of making any statement whether orally or writing or by visible representation which - a) falsely represent that the goods or services are of particular standard, quality, quantity, grade, style, model ; b) falsely represent any secondhand, renovated, or old goods as new goods ; c) makes to the public a representation in a form that purports to be - (a) a warranty or guarantee of a product or of any goods or services : (b) a promise to replace, maintain or repair any part and there is no reasonable prospect that such promises to be carried out .
d) gives false or misleading facts disparaging the goods, services or trade of another person. (B) Publication :- A trader permits the publication of any advertisement whether in any newspaper for the sale or supply at a bargain price, or for a period and in quantities, that are reasonable, saving regard to the nature of the market in which the business is carried on, the nature and size of business and the nature of the advertisement. (C) Gifts and Prizes :- the conduct of any contest, lottery, game of chance or skill, for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, the sale of any product or any business interest. (D) Spurious Goods :- A manufacture of spurious goods or offering such goods for sale or adopt deceptive practices in the provision of services. (2.) RESTRICTIVE TRADE PRACTICE Restrictive trade practice is one which tends to bring about manipulation of price or its condition delivery or to affect flow of supplies in the market relating to goods or services in such a manner as to impression on the consumers unjustified costs or restriction. (3.) DEFECTS :- It is for the complainant to establish that the goods mentioned in the complaint suffer from one or more defects.
(4.) DEFICIENCY :- It is for the complainant to establish that services mentioned in the complaint suffer from deficiency of any respect. (5.) EXCESSIVE PRICE :- It is for the complainant to establish that the trader has charged for the goods mentioned in the complaint, price in excess of the price - a) displayed on goods ; or b) displayed on any package containing such goods (6.)HAZARDOUS GOODS In respect of goods which are hazardous to life and safety, traders shall display information regarding the contents, and effect of use of such goods.
EXTENT OF CONSUMER PROTECTION While other legislations may be either punitive the consumer protection act compare the consumer. The provisions of the act are in addition to and not in derogation of the provision if low for the time being in force (sec.3) In Marine container service south Pvt.ltd v. co .German(3) SCC 247, it has been held that the contract act applies to all litigants before the commissions the consumer protection act. Passenger traveling in a train, suffering injuries loss of jewellery result of assault by unruly crowd. Filling of complaints before the state commissions is maintainable not with (2004) 6 SCC 113) The consumer protection act therefore gives the consumer an additional remedy those which may be available under other existing laws. Existence of an arbitration clause in the agree is no bar to the entertainment of complaints by the redressal agency as the remedy under the act is to the provisions of any other law. He the consumer Forums under the act have not taken over the jurisdiction of civil court. If the dispute the parties is pending in civil court, no consumer Forum will adjudicates the dispute. Similarly if the to be laid by the parties to the disputes is voluminous or complicated, the parties will be referred to the apply civil court.
Scope The Consumer protection Act,1986 was therefore enacted. It came into effect on 15.04.1987. the act is supplemented by consumer protection Rules ,1987.The first minor amendment was in 1991. The act was comprehensively amended by consumer protection act,1993 which came into effect from 18.06.1993. The 1993 amendment seeks to provide for the following: 1. To enlarge the scope of the act so as to enable the consumers to file class action complaints where such consumers have common interest and to file complaints relating to restrictive trade practices adopted by trader. 2. To enable the consumers who are self employed to file complaints before the redressal agencies where goods brought by them exclusively for earning their livelihood, suffer from any defect. 3. To add Services relating to housing constructions 4. To enable filling of class complaints on behalf of group of consumers having same interest 5. To provide for the constitution of selection committees for the selection of non judicial members of various redressal agencies.
6. To increase the monetary jurisdiction of district forums / State commissions 7. To confer additional powers on the redressal agencies by way of awarding costs of the parties, for ordering removal of defects or deficiency from services. 8. To impose punishment on the complaints in cases of frivolous or vexatious complaints 9. To provide for a limitation period of one year for filling complaints The amendment of 2002 was necessitated to achieve quicker disposal of consumer complaints by the consumer disputes redressal agencies securing effective implementation of the orders, widening the scope of some of the provisions of the act to make it more effective. 1. Provisions for creation of Benches of the national commission and state commissions as well as holding of circuit Benches of these commissions. 2. Prescribing the period within which complaints are to be admitted, notices are to be issued to opposite party and the complaints are to be decided. 3. No adjournment to be ordinarily allowed and where allowed, a speaking order giving reasons would be made. 4. Enabling provision for charging of fee in respect of complaints filed before the consumer disputes redressal agencies. 5. Exclusion of services availed for commercial purposes from the purview of the consumer disputes redressal agencies 6. Prescribing minimum qualification as well as disqualification for member of the consumer disputes redressal agencies.
7. Provision for re-appointment of president and member of the District forum, state commissions and the National commission, for another term of five year. 8. Bringing sale of spurious good of service within the meaning of unfair trade practices. 9. Provision for recovery of amounts ordered to be paid by the consumer disputes redressal agencies as arrears of land revenue. 10. To provide for establishment of District consumer protection councils for promotion and protection of consumer rights at the district level
1. Better protection of interests of consumers: The Act seeks to provide for better protection of the interests of consumers.. For that purpose, the act makes provision for the establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumer disputes and for matters connected therewith. 2. Protection of rights of consumers: The Act seeks , to promote and protect the rights of consumers such as- • The right to be protected against marketing of goods or services which are hazardous to life and property; • The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices; • The right to be assured, wherever possible, access to goods and services at competitive price; • The right to be heard and to be assured that consumers interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums; • The right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers; • Right to consumer education. Objectives
3. Consumer protection councils: The above objects are sought to be promoted and protected by the consumer protection councils established at the central and state levels. 4. Quasi- judicial machinery for speedy redressal of consumer disputes: The Act seeks to provide speedy and simple redressal to consumer disputes. For this purpose, there has been set up a quasi-judicial machinery at the district, state and central levels. These quasi-judicial bodies are supposed to observe the principles of natural justice and are empowered- • To give reliefs of a specific nature, and • To award, wherever appropriate, compensation to consumer. penalties for non-compliance of the orders given by the quasi-judicial bodies have also been provided.
The Act applies to all goods and services unless specifically exempted by the Central Government. • - It covers all the sectors whether private, public or cooperative. • - The provisions of the Act are compensatory in nature. • It enshrines the following rights of consumers:- • - Right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property. • -Right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices; • -Right to be assured , wherever possible , access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices; • -Right to be heard and to be assured that consumers' interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums; • -Right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices unscrupulous exploitation of consumers; and • -Right to consumer education • -The Act envisages establishment of Consumer Protection Councils at the Central and State levels, whose main objects will be to promote and protect the rights of the consumers. The salient features of the Act
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Bibliography http://www.fcamin.nic.in www.scrib.com www.consumerprotectionact 1986.com www.google.com/consumeract