Consumer Protection Amendment, 2019

Consumer Protection Amendment, 2019

Need to encourage the interests and rights of the consumers

By Priyamvada S

In today’s world, the protection of consumers is considered to be of utmost importance. With the existence of cutthroat competition, sellers may go to great extents, which can end up being unethical and cause harm to the consumers. Hence there is a dire need for consumer protection. Initially, in order to encourage the interests and rights of the consumers, a movement was initiated as a ‘social force’. The Consumer Protection Act in 1986 gave it a legal authority with the declaration of consumer rights.

With new modes of businesses such as telemarketing, multilevel marketing, and e-commerce, which were not prevalent when the Consumer Protection Act,1986 was enforced, made the consumers more vulnerable to unfair trade practices. The existing legal framework, the 1986 Act, rules, guidelines, and circulars issued by the Consumer Ministry had failed to address these issues. In order to enlarge the scope of the existing law and make it more effective, the Consumer Protection Act 2019 came into force.

The post and pre scenario of the Consumer Protection Act,2019:

The 2019 Amendment explicitly includes the online purchase of goods and services and also enables consumers to file complaints electronically.

The New Act allows the consumer to file complaints with the jurisdictional consumer forum located at the place of residence or work of the consumer. Whereas the 1986 Act had the provision of filing it at the place of purchase or where the seller has its registered office address.

The 2019 Act introduced the new concept of product liability and action could be taken against the manufacturer, service provider and product seller for claiming compensation. The New Act, increases the risk of liability of the manufacturers wherein they will be liable in product liability action even when they prove that they were not negligent or fraudulent in manufacturing the product. However, there are some exceptions to this.

The New Act included penalties for unfair trade practices which involved the sharing of personal information provided by the consumers. It also included a penalty of 1 million for false or misleading advertisements which were not clearly provided in the 1986 Act.

The Redressal agencies have also gone through certain changes under the 2019 Amendment Act. While the 1986 Act instructed the commissions to either accept or reject a complaint within 21 days of receiving it, the 2019 Act has gone a step ahead by stating that if no action has been taken within 21 days then the complaint has to be assumed to be admitted.

 The Jurisdictional Changes:

The Pecuniary limits have also been revised under the 2019 Amendment Act. The district forum can now entertain consumer complaints where the value of goods or services paid is up to Rs.1 crore whereas previously the value was up to Rs.20 lakh.

The State forum can now take up cases where the value of goods and services is greater than Rs. 1 crore up to the value of Rs.10 crore. This has been increased from the previous value of Rs 20 lakh to Rs. 1 crore.

The National Commission can exercise jurisdiction where the value exceeds Rs 10 crore whereas the previous value was greater than Rs.1 crore.

Conclusively, the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 when compared with the 1986 Act shows that it provides a greater scope of protection of consumer rights and interests in the current era of digitalization. The 2019 Act has also attempted to fasten the process of consumer disputes resolution by increasing the pecuniary jurisdiction of the consumer forums, imposing higher penalties and various other inclusions. Along with the measures being taken by the government, the consumers must also play an active role in following their responsibilities in order to make the laws effective.


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