The New Year is going to ring in a few hours! Wishing this New Year, equips consumers with their rightful rights that ensures they get true value for their money and are entitled to a transparent, honest process.
The recent attempt by the Government of India to empower customers through a revised, Consumer Protection Bill 2018, comes as a boon for consumers in India.
We have often heard people say that consumer is the king! While it stands true in respect to the developed world where a consumer can drag a product manufacturer or a service provider to court in case of deficiency in the promised product or service. Its not the same in India. In India it’s not just the common man who suffers because of inferior products or services delivered whilst he/she was promised something else, even movie stars are meted with the same fate. Not long ago Sonakshi Sinha a popular movie star ordered for headphones and received junk in return.
The rapidly evolving digital landscape in India where more and more people are now using the online medium to purchase, sell and make online payments having effective legislation to address consumer grievances is essential.
Brief History of the Consumers Protection Bill
Introduced in 1986 as the Consumers Rights Act was first considered for a rehaul in 2015. The revised bill was referred to a standing committee which suggested many changes to the bill. The bill was then withdrawn and replaced with the Consumer Protection Bill 2018 in January 2018. The bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha and awaits its fate at the Rajya Sabha.
What does the consumer gain from this bill?
- The new bill now encompasses all transactions between a consumer and a retailer, manufacturer, supplier etc. irrespective of medium which can be offline or online.
- The consumer can now file a complaint if he/she suffers an injury, property damage, death due to the malfunctioning of a product and claim adequate compensation provisioned under product liability.
- Consumers can also raise their concerns if they feel that they have been wrongfully implicated through a contract. Unfair contracts advising consumers to pay excessive security deposits, unilateral termination without cause are instances where the contract can be deemed null and void, in favor of the consumer.
- The bill plans to introduce Consumer Protection Councils that will be easily accessible to aggrieved consumers and work as the first point of contact for consumer protection and grievance redressal while promoting consumer rights. The bill also initiates setting up of a regulatory body called the Consumer Protection Authority. The authority will govern and pass orders to curb and restrict unfair trade practices such as selling below standard products and services and can impose penalties for false and misleading advertisements.
- The bill also promises the creation of consumer courts at the district, state and national levels to hear and adjudicate concerns and grievances of consumers.
- The bill also authorizes the CPC to levy penalties on misleading advertisements and/or supplying of inferior, adulterated or spurious goods. Penalties of 10 to 50 lakhs can be levied alongside jail terms for the manufacturer. The endorser in such cases can be barred from endorsing any product for a period of one year and can be given a longer term if he/she is a repeat offender.
- Consumers will now have the freedom to file their complaints from the location of their residence or work. Earlier consumers could only file cases in the jurisdiction of the manufacturer or seller. The jurisdictional value of district consumer courts has also been revised from 20 Lakhs to a sum of 1 crore.
Read the Bill in Detail.
While the aforesaid legislation looks to strongly favor the consumers, there are doubts about the independence of the councils and authority as the important decisions of appointing judges and members for the council, authority and courts is heavily dependent on executive action.
At Xploree we surely believe that consumers truly are the kings. Thus, our efforts are concentrated at providing the consumers of our products an engaging, non-intrusive and transparent process. It is our commitment towards our consumers or users that ensures we safeguard our consumers privacy by adhering to strict policies. Download app here.