Consumer Protection Act, 2019 – UPSC GS2

 The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 has come into effect from July 20, replacing the earlier Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Consumer Protection Act, 2019: Key Features

1) Definition of consumer

  • A consumer is defined as a person who buys any good or avails a service for a consideration.
  • It does not include a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purpose.
  • It covers transactions through all modes including offline, and online through electronic means, teleshopping, multi-level marketing or direct selling.

2) Rights of consumers

The following consumer rights have been defined in the Act, including the right to:
  • be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property;
  • be informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services;
  • be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive prices; and
  • seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices.

3) Establishment of Central Consumer Protection Authority

  • The central government will set up a CCPA to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.
  • It will regulate matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements.
  • The CCPA will have an investigation wing, headed by a Director-General, which may conduct inquiry or investigation into such violations.

4) Penalties for misleading advertisement

  • The CCPA may impose a penalty on a manufacturer or an endorser of up to Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for up to two years for a false or misleading advertisement.
  • In case of a subsequent offence, the fine may extend to Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of up to five years.
  • CCPA can also prohibit the endorser of a misleading advertisement from endorsing that particular product or service for a period of up to one year.
  • For every subsequent offence, the period of prohibition may extend to three years.

5) Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

  • CDRCs will be set up at the district, state, and national levels.
  • A consumer can file a complaint with CDRCs in relation to: unfair or restrictive trade practices; defective goods or services etc.
  • Complaints against an unfair contract can be filed with only the State and National CDRC
  • Appeals from a District CDRC will be heard by the State CDRC.
  • Appeals from the State CDRC will be heard by the National CDRC.  Final appeal will lie before the Supreme Court.

6) Jurisdiction of CDRCs

  • The District CDRC will entertain complaints where value of goods and services does not exceed Rs one crore.
  • The State CDRC will entertain complaints when the value is more than Rs one crore but does not exceed Rs 10 crore.
  • Complaints with value of goods and services over Rs 10 crore will be entertained by the National CDRC.

7) Product liability

  • Product liability means the liability of a product manufacturer, service provider or seller to compensate a consumer for any harm or injury caused by a defective good or deficient service.
  • To claim compensation, a consumer has to prove any one of the conditions for defect or deficiency, as given in the Act.