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Q: What is Consumer Protection Act, 2019?

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, that came into effect on 20th July, 2020.

The Earlier Consumer Protection Act, 1986 a single point access to justice was given, which is also time consuming. The new act has been introduced after many amendments to provide protection to buyers not only from traditional sellers but also from the new e-commerce retailers/platforms.

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, 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.

FAQs: The New Consumer Protection Act, 2019

Q: How Consumer can file a complaint?

File a complaint from anywhere electronically in in National Commission, State Commission and District Commission.

The new law enables consumers to file complaints electronically and file complaints in consumer commissions that have jurisdiction over the place of his/her residence instead of the earlier practice of filing case at the place of purchase or where the seller has its registered office.

Q: What is Fee to file a complaint?

As per the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Rules, there will be no fee for filing cases up to Rs 5 lakh and thereafter a maximum of Rs. 7,500 depending on District/State/National Commission based on slab.

Q: How consumer can appear for hearing?

Consumer can attend the hearing of the case through video conferencing, according to the new law.

Q: How consumer can seek compensation under product liability?

This new law includes the product manufacturer, product service provider and product seller, for any claim for compensation.

For the first time there will be an exclusive law dealing with Product Liability. A manufacturer or product service provider or product seller will now be responsible to compensate for injury or damage caused by defective product or deficiency in services.

Product liability provision to deter manufacturers and service providers from delivering defective products or deficient services. The Bill also enables regulations to be notified on E-commerce and direct selling with focus on protection of interest of consumers.

Q: What is the punishment for sale of spurious goods?

The new law provides for punishment by a competent court for the manufacture or sale of adulterant/spurious goods. The court may, in case of the first conviction, suspend any license issued to the person for a period of up to two years, and in case of second or subsequent conviction, cancel the license.

"manipulate the price" of the goods and services offered is also not allowed on platforms to gain unreasonable profit and discriminate between consumers of the same class or make any arbitrary classification of consumers affecting their rights under the Act.

Q: What is the mandate for e-retailers?

Under the e-commerce rules, it has been made mandatory for e-commerce platforms to display details about price, expiry date, return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment, modes of payment, grievance redressal mechanism, payment methods, the security of payment methods, charge-back options, etc. Additionally, sellers must also display 'country of origin' which will enable the consumer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage.

E-retailers must prominently display details about the 'sellers' offering goods and services, including the name of their business, whether registered or not, their geographic address, customer care number, any rating or other aggregated feedback about such seller

E-commerce platforms have to acknowledge the receipt of any consumer complaint within forty-eight hours and redress the complaint within one month from the date of receipt

However, the rules will not permit any inventory e-commerce entity, including single-brand retailers and multi-channel single-brand retailers, to "falsely represent itself as a consumer and post reviews about goods and services or misrepresent the quality or the features of any goods and services.

 

Q: What is Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)?

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect, and enforce the rights of consumers. It can conduct investigations into violations of consumer rights and institute complaints/prosecution, order recalls of unsafe goods and services, order discontinuance of unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements, impose penalties on manufacturers/endorsers/publishers of misleading advertisements.

Q: What is Central Consumer Protection Council?

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, provides for the setting up of the Central Consumer Protection Council as an advisory body on consumer issues. It will be headed by the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs with the Minister of State as Vice Chairperson and 34 other members from different fields.

The council, which has a three-year tenure, will have Minister-in-charge of consumer affairs from two states from each region- North, South, East, West, and North East

Q: How Consumer Dispute Adjudication Process works?

Simplifying the consumer dispute adjudication process, empowerment of the State and District Commissions to review their own orders, enabling a consumer to file complaints electronically and file complaints in consumer Commissions that have jurisdiction over the place of his/her residence, videoconferencing for hearing and deemed admissibility of complaints if the question of admissibility is not decided within the specified period of 21 days

Q: Is there any alternative Consumer Dispute Resolution Mechanism?

YES, there is an Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanism of Mediation. A complaint will be referred by a Consumer Commission for mediation, wherever scope for early settlement exists and parties agree for it. Mediation will be held in the Mediation Cells to be established under the aegis of the Consumer Commissions.  There will be no appeal against settlement through mediation

Disclaimer: This article or blog or post (by whatever name) is based on the writer’s personal views. The writer does not accept any liabilities for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of information and for any actions taken in reliance thereon. This article has been published for knowledge sharing purpose only.

The author is a practicing Chartered Accountant with an overall 20 years’ experience in both Industry as well as an independent practice and can also  be reached at cacafe4you@gmail.com

 

Source: Department of Consumer Affairs Portal and other Internet Contents

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