Consumer protection refers to protecting the interest of customers. An analysis of marketing
management has made it clear that customer is a king pin in the market. The producer should
produce goods keeping in mind the requirements of customers and satisfy the customers.
But market is a place where profit is the main aim of a businessmen. To achieve more and more profits and growth they involve in unfair practices such as supply of substandard quality, adulteration etc. So, there is need for consumer protection. Hence consumer protection means protecting the interest of consumer.
Government of India has provided various laws and legislations to protect the interest of consumer and the most important of them is The Consumer Protection Act 1986
Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted in 1986 to protect the interests of consumers in India. It makes provision for the establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumers’ disputes and for matters connected therewith also.
A person who purchases (i) goods, or (ii) hires services, or agrees to purchase goods or hire services for consideration (price paid in full or in part, or promised to be paid in full or in instalment) is a
A person who uses such goods or services with the consent of buyer or hirer is a consumer under Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
But if you purchase goods or hire services for commercial purpose you are not a “consumer”
for purpose of the Act.
But if you are self-employed person and purchase goods, or hire services for commercial purpose but solely for your livelihood, earning by self-employment you are treated as a consumer under this Act.
A service of any description, which is made available to the potential users, is covered by this Act Banking, financing, insuring, transport, processing, supply of electrical energy, supply of any other energy, boarding or loading, house construction, entertainment, amusement are specifically named in the section itself.
The main features of this act are:
1. This act has provided various rights and responsibilities to consumers.
2. It provides safeguard to customers against defective goods, services, unfair trade practices
and other forms of their exploitation
3. The act has provided three tier redressal agencies where consumer can file complaints
Rights of the customer :
The Government of India has provided following rights to all the consumers under the Consumer
1. Right to safety
2. Right to Information
3. Right to make choice
4. Right to be heard
5. Right to Seek Redressal
6. Right to Consumer Education.
Unfair And Restrictive Trade Practices
Unfair Trade Practices
Section 2(1) (r) of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 also defines the term ‘Unfair trade practice’. It
reads: “Unfair trade practice” means a trade practice which, for the purpose of promoting the sale, use or supply of any goods or for the provision of any service, adopts any unfair method or unfair or deceptive practice including any of the following practices, namely:
The practice of making any statement, whether orally or in writing or by visible representation
1. Falsely represents that the goods are of a particular standard, quality, quantity, grade,
composition, style or model;
2. Falsely represents that the services are of a particular standard, quality or grade;
3. Falsely represents any re-built, second-hand, renovated, reconditioned or old goods as new
4. Represents that the goods or services have sponsorship, approval, performance, characteristics, accessories, uses or benefits which such goods or services do not have;
5. Represents that the seller or the supplier has a sponsorship or approval or affiliation which such seller or supplier does not have;
6. Makes a false or misleading representation concerning the need for, or the usefulness of, any goods or services;
7. Gives to the public any warranty or guarantee of the performance, efficacy or length of life of a product or of any goods that is not based on an adequate or proper test there of; Provided that where a defence is raised to the effect that such warranty or guarantee is based on adequate or proper test, the burden of proof of such defence shall lie on the person raising such defence
8. Makes to the public a representation in a form that purports to be:- A warranty or guarantee of a product or of any goods or services; or A promise to replace, maintain or repair an article or any part thereof or to repeat or continue a service until it has achieved a specified result, if such purported warranty or guarantee or promise is materially misleading or if there is no reasonable prospect that such warranty, guarantee or promise will be carried out;
9. Materially misleads the public concerning the price at which a product or like products or goods or services, have been or are, ordinarily sold or provided, and, for this purpose, a representation as to price shall be deemed to refer to the price at which the product or goods or services has or have been sold by sellers or provided by suppliers generally in the relevant market unless it is clearly specified to be the price at which the product has been sold or services have been provided by the person by whom or on whose behalf the representation is made;
10. Gives false or misleading facts disparaging the goods, services or trade of another person.
Consumers have to bear some responsibilities which are given below:
1. Consumer must exercise his Right.
2. Consumer should be Cautious.
3. Filing Complaints for the Redressal of Genuine Grievances.
4. Consumer must be Quality-Conscious
5. Should not be carried away by Advertisements.
6. Insist on Cash Memo.
With an aim to deal with cases pertaining to consumer grievances and disputes, the consumer
courts also known as special purpose courts were established in India. Set up by the government, these judiciary courts aim to protect the rights of consumers. Their main function centers on maintaining the trade practices that are offered by the seller to the consumers. Consumers are free to file a case against the seller if they have been exploited or harassed. On having proof of exploitation (bills or supporting documents) the court will give verdict in favour of the consumers. However failure on part of the consumer to produce proper documents will make it difficult for him to file or win the case.
Three-Tier Consumer Grievances Machinery under the Consumers Protection Act:
1. District Forum: District Forum consists of a president and two other members. The
complaints for goods or services worth Rs. 20 Lakhs or less can be filed in this agency.
2. State Commission: It consists of a president and atleast two other members. The complaints
for the goods worth more than Rs 20 Lakhs and less than Rs, 1 crore can be filed in the State
3. National Commission: It consists of a president and four members one of whom shall be
woman. The complaint can be filed in National Commission if the value of goods Rs. 1 crore.
If the aggrieved party is not satisfied with the judgement then they can file a complaint in
Supreme Court within 30 days.