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The Consumer Protection Act,1986

as amended, by The Consumer Protection Act,2002 (62 of 2002)

A brief presentation

Introduction
The Consumer Protection Bill, 1986 was introduced in The Lok Sabha on 5th Dec.1986. Passed by both houses. Assent received by President of India on 24th Dec.1986 and came on the Statue Book As The Consumer Protection Act 1986 (68 of 1986). Amendments made: 1991,1993,2002 Applicable to whole of India Except J&K Applicable to all goods and services The main objective of the new law is to provide for the better protection of the consumers unlike existing laws which are punitive or preventive in nature. The Act intends to provide simple, speedy & inexpensive redressal to the consumer's grievances.

Statement of Purpose
To provide better protection of the interests of consumers (i.e. to protect and promote the rights of consumers.) To make provision for the establishment of Consumer Councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumer disputes and for matter connected therewith. Establishment of Quasi Judicial machinery is sought to be set up at the District, State and Central levels for speedy ,inexpensive and simple redressal of complaints. These objects are sought to be promoted and directed by the Consumer Protection Council to be established at the Centre and State level.

Rights of Consumer
 The right to be protected against marketing of goods which are hazardous to life and property;  The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices;  The right to be assured, wherever possible, access to an authority of goods at competitive prices;  The right to be heard and to be assured that consumers interest will receive due consideration at appropriate forums;  The right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers; and  The right to consumer education Back

Definitions

Consumer (Sec.2): Any Person who buys goods or agrees to buy the goods either on deferred installments or cash payment but not for resale or any commercial purpose. Any person who uses the product with the consent and approval of original buyers. Any person who hires a service or avails of an service not for commercial purpose.

Complainant : A consumer; or  Any voluntary organization regd. under The Indian Companies Act 1956 and any other law for the time being in force.  The Central Govt. and State Govt.  One or more Consumer where the consumer (Ins. by Act 50 of 1993)  In case of death of a consumer, his legal heir or representative. (Ins. by Act 62 of 2002).

Definitions

Goods means goods defined in Sales of Goods Act 1930 as any kind of movable goods but excluding currency, land ,building, stock, notes, cash. Services: means service of any description offered to potential customers but excludes services provided free of cost or under any personal contract Defects: means any fault ,imperfection, shortcoming in the quality, quantity, potency, purity and standard which is required to be maintained by or any under the law for the time being in force under any contract, law, express or implied ) as is claimed by trader in any manner whatsoever in relation to any goods. Complaint : means any allegation in writing made by a complaint that  An unfair trade practice or restrictive trade practice has been adopted by any trader any service provider.  The goods bought by him or agreed to be bought by him suffer from one or more defects.  The Services hired or availed of or agreed to be hired or availed of by him suffer from one or more defects.

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. - Making false or misleading misrepresentation about goods or services ,orally or written. e.g. Selling Second hand Car as New Car to Customer. Restrictive trade practice" means any trade practice which requires a consumer to buy, hire or avail of any goods or, as the case may be, services as a condition precedent for buying, hiring or availing of other goods or services.
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Definitions

Trader or Service provider charging a price in excess of the price * Fixed by any law

Displayed on goods package. Displayed on the price list exhibited by him or by any law . Agreed between parties.

Goods which will be hazardous to life and safety when used are being offered for sale

Where to file a complaint


The Consumer Protection Act has provided for a three tier system popularly known as "Consumer Courts" :Court District Forum Claim Up to Rs.20 lakhs.

State Commission

Rs.20 lakhs but less than Rs.1 crore. Above Rs. 1 crore.

National Commission

Set Up of Consumer Courts


The National Commission is headed by a President who shall be a sitting or retired Judge of Supreme Court and shall consist of four other members one of whom shall be a woman. The State Commission is headed by a President who shall be a sitting or retired Judge of High Court and shall consist of two other members, one of whom shall be a woman. Similarly, the District Forum shall consist of a President, who shall be a sitting or retired District Judge or qualified to be a District Judge. The District Forum also shall consist of two other members, one of whom shall be a woman.

Composition of Consumer Courts


National Commission : -A person who is a Judge of Supreme Court to be nominated by the Chief Justice of India - Chairman. - Secretary in the department of legal affairs in Government of India. - Member - Secretary of the Department dealing - Member with Consumer affairs in the Government of India State Commission: - President of State Commission - Secretary of Law Department of State - Secretary in charge of department dealing with consumer affairs in the State. District Forum - person who is or has been or is qualified to be a District Judge

-Chairman. -Member. -Member.

- Chairman - two other members who shall be persons of ability integrity and standing and have adequate knowledge or experience of or have shown capacity in dealing with problems relating to economics law commerce accountancy industry public affairs or administration one of whom shall be a woman

PROCEDURE OF FILING A CASE

Original Petition should be signed by the complainant and supported by an affidavit with five copies, and one set each for opposite parties within two years from the date on which cause of action arises.
The Original Petition along with all the copies should be paginated and duly indexed in the following seriatim:(a) the name, description and the address of the complainant; (b) the name, description and address of the opposite party or parties, as the case may be, so far as they can be ascertained; (c) the facts relating to complaint and when and where it arose; (d) documents in support of the allegations contained in the complaint (all documents should be filed with legible English translation). (e) the relief which the complainant claims including legal fees

Relief Available to Consumers


A) Repair of defective goods. B) Replacement of defective goods. C) Refund of price paid for the defective goods or service. D) Removal of deficiency in service. E) Refund of extra money charge. F) Withdrawal of goods hazardous to life and safety. G) Grant of punitive damages. H) Adequate cost of filing and pursuing the complaint. I) Compensation for the loss or injury suffered by the consumer due to negligence of the opposite party.

Handling the Case


On receipt a complaint a consumer forum has to decide with in 21days from the date of receipt of petition whither it is to be accepted or rejected .But for rejecting, the person should be given opportunity to be heard so that principle of natural justice is followed. If petition is accepted then a notice to be given within 21 days from the date of acceptance of a notice is to be given to opposite party to reply point by point within 30 days but extendable to 45 days. If the product involves testing of laboratory and it cant be decided on the face of it without proper test the sample of the product will be send to lab for verification/certification. Consumer courts are powered to direct the laboratory to submit report within 90days and it will be considered as a piece of evidence.

Re-appeal
Any party aggrieved form the final order of District Forum may appeal to State Commission within 30 days. Similarly, any party aggrieved from the final order passed in original complaint decided by the State Commission may appeal to National Commission within 30 days. Order passed by National Commission in complaint filed before it is appeal able in Supreme Court within 30 days.

Appeal may contain information as per model form with certified copy of order. Any order, which is not final order, may be challenged in revision before higher respective Commission.

Miscellaneous
Fees : Rs. 100 to 1000 according to value of goods/service. Penalties
Where a trader or a person against whom a complaint is made fails or omits to comply with any order made by the District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, such trader or person shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one month but which may extend to three years, or with fine which shall not be less than two thousand rupees but which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both:

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