Consumer Protection Act, 2019 was passed on 9th August 2019. It is a repealing statute, thereby repealing more than three-decade-old law of Consumer Protection Act, 1986. It has come with new legislation and rules which will help consumers to file consumer complaints thereby increasing efficiency. It also aims to bring about more efficiency in dealing with e filling and mediation. This will change how consumers seek relief. This Act is truly a step into the future.
Proposed benefits of the New Act
- Definition of the consumer to include e-commerce
- Enhancement of pecuniary jurisdiction
- A complaint can be filed where the consumer is located and not the opposite party
- Penalties enhanced
- Alternate Dispute Resolution (Mediation)
- E-filing of complaints (Rules to be framed)
Consumer Protection Act, 2019 was passed on 9th August, 2019. It is a repealing statute, thereby repealing more than three decade old law of Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
Objectives of the New Act
- Establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)
- Product Liability Option
- Establishment of the Mediation Centre
- Introduce Filling by Video Conferencing
- The imposition of higher penalties.
- E-commerce included within the ambit of Consumer Protection.
Comparative Analysis: Consumer protection act, 1986 (Old act) v. Consumer protection act, 2019 (New act)
|KEY POINTS||OLD ACT||NEW ACT|
|PECUNIARY JURISDICTION||District forum (upto 20 lacs) State commission (from 20 lacs to 1 crore)National commission (from 1 crore and above)||District forum (upto 1 crore)State commission (from 1 crore to 10 crore)National commission (from 10 crore and above)|
|MRP/PURCHASE PRICE||Earlier MRP was a criteria to decide pecuniary jurisdiction||Now discounted price/ actual purchase price is criteria|
|TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION||Where seller has office||Where complainant resides or works|
|REGULATOR||No such provision||Central Consumer protection authority to be formed|
|MEDIATION||No such provision||Court can refer for settlement through mediation (Section 80)|
|APPEAL||Earlier 30 days period for appeal against the order of District forum (Section 15)Earlier 50% or 25,000 whichever is less is to be deposited||Now it is 45 days (Section 41)Now 50% of award amount|
|E-COMMERCE||Earlier no specific mention||Now all provision applicable to direct seller has been extended to e-commerce|
|REVIEW||Earlier DCF did not have the power to review||Now DCF has power to review|
|UNFAIR TERMS AND CONDITIONS||No such provision||Section 49(2) and 59(2) of the new act gives power to the State Commission and NCDRC respectively to declare any terms of contract, which is unfair to any consumer, to be null and void|
|AUTHORITY||District consumer forumState consumer forumNational Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission||District commissionState commissionNational Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission|
|COMPOSITION OF STATE COMMISSION||President and 2 other members||President and 4 other members|
Meditation under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (Section 74)
The State Governments shall establish a consumer mediation cell to be attached to each of District Commissions and State Commissions of state. (Section 74(1))
Central Government shall establish consumer mediation cell to be attached to the National Commission (Section 74(2))
Holding companies accountable for the default in service or manufacture is the essence of the Consumer Protection Act. The following is how a product manufacturer and service provider can be held liable-
Liability of product manufacturer under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (Section 84)
Product manufacturer will be liable for –
(a) Manufacturing defect in the product
(b) Defective design of the product or
(c) Deviation from manufacturing specifications or
(d) Product not conforming to express warranty or
(e) No adequate instructions of correct usage contained (in order to prevent harm or warning)
Liability even if he proves that he was not negligent or fraudulent in making express warranty.(Section 84(2))
Liability of product service provider (Section 85)-
Product service provider will be liable if-
(a) Service provided was faulty or imperfect or deficient or inadequate in quality, nature or manner of performance which is required by or under any law or pursuant to any contract
(b) Act of omission or commission or negligence or conscious withholding information which caused harm
(c) No adequate instructions or warnings issued to prevent harm
(d) No conformity with express warranty or terms and conditions of the contract.
Liability of product service provider (Section 86)-
Product seller will be liable if-
(a) Substantial control by him over designing, testing, manufacturing, packaging or labelling of product causing harm
(b) he altered or modified the product (such alteration or modification being substantial factor in causing harm)
(c) made express warranty independent of express warranty of manufacturer (and product failed to conform express warranty by product seller)
(d) product sold by him and identity of manufacturer is now known or if known, service of notice or process cannot be effected
(e) failed to exercise reasonable care in assembling, inspecting or maintaining product
Exceptions to product liability action (Section 87)
Product seller shall be exempted from liability if at time of harm, product was misused, altered or modified.
Product manufacturer not to be liable if- (where product liability action is based on failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions)
(a) Product purchased by the employer to be used at the workplace & warnings or instructions were provided to the employer.
(b) Product sold as component or material for another product and harm was caused by the end product
(c) Product was legally meant to be used or dispensed by or under supervision of an expert and warnings or instructions for such usage were given
(d) Complainant while using the product was under the influence of alcohol or prescription drug (excluding drugs prescribed by a medical practitioner)
(f) No liability in case of danger which is obvious or commonly known to the user or consumer.
Muskan hails from DY Patil University, Navi Mumbai and she spends most of her time in charity and reading. Her Interest area lies in Consumer laws. For any clarifications, feedback, and advice, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org