Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and its effectiveness?

Consumer Protection Act, 1986

Consumer Protection act 1986 and WHAT are we missing?

Imagine you went to market to buy microwave. You ask the shop owner to tell you about microwaves. First he showed only 2 although the shop was having many and then you purchased one.

When you tried to run it in home, it is not running. Now what you will do in this scenario?

To be honest you will try to contact company helpline number and also wants to have a word with shopkeeper.

But even all of this if your problem is not sorted, then????

YOU GAVE UP……. You probably will say its my bad.

Now you may or may not know that here your rights have been exploited. Sounds interesting, GOOD.

Well then keep reading further in today’s post you and I will discuss Consumer Protection and will get to know about the following:-

How it all started?

Why we need this in the first place?

and So much more…

Consumer Protection – How it all began?

A consumer is said to be king in free market economy. But very often it is observed that consumers are exploited by some unscrupulous and greedy businessmen.

Adulteration of consumer goods, poor quality of goods and services, misleading advertisements, short measure and under weight goods, creation of artificial scarcity by hoarding boards, etc are some of the examples of consumers exploitation in the context of goods and services.

In 1987, more than 1600 people fell had fallen seriously ill and 18 had died after eating food cooked in oil sold by a ration shop in Kolkata’s Bahala area. The poison responsible for this tragedy was triorthocreysl phosphate (TCP) which is used as a plasticizer in the tic industry.

TCP was mixed with oil to give it the flavour of mustard oil.

Now the big question is SHOULD WE ALLOW THESE PRACTICES TO CONTINUE ?

Or Is there any solution to check these malpractices.

This brings us to next section


What exactly the Consumer Protection Act is?

Concept of Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection has wide agenda. It aims at:-

  • Providing protection to consumers against unscrupulous, exploitative, and unfair practices of traders, manufacturers, and service providers.
  • educating consumer against the right and responsibilities
  • providing speedy and inexpensive redressal of their grievances
  • creating awareness among the consumers so that they organize themselves in the form of consumer organizations which would protect and promote their interests.

For the protection of consumers , the parliament enacted the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) in 1986.

” Consumer Protection” means protecting and promoting the consumer’s interests through speedy and inexpensive redressal of their grievances.

What CPA provides to us?

The CPA provides safeguards to consumers against defective goods, deficient services, exploitative and unfair trade practices of sellers.

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides certain rights to consumers with a view to empowering them against such malpractices.

Consumer Protection Act says Customer is King.
Customer is King

The Act also provides for the formation of Consumers Protection Councils in every district and state, and at apex level to promote and protect consumer rights.


Why is Consumer Protection important?

From Consumer’s point of view :

A. Consumer Ignorance – In the light of widespread ignorance of consumers about their rights and reliefs available to them, it becomes necessary to educate them about the same so as to achieve consumer awareness.

B. Unorganised Consumers – Consumers need to be organised in the form of consumer organisations which would take care of their interests and values.

Traditional and Modern Approach in Consumer Protection Act.
Traditional and Modern Approach


Though in India, we do have consumer organisations which are working in this direction, adequate protection is required to be given to consumers till these organizations become powerful enough to protect and promote the interests of consumers.

C. Widespread exploitation of consumers – Consumers might be exploited by unscrupulous, exploitative and unfair trade practices like defective and unsafe products, adulteration, false and misleading advertising, hoarding, black-marketing etc.

Consumers need protection against such malpractices of the sellers.

Consumer Exploitation
Consumer Exploitation

From point of view of Business :

A. Long term interests of business – Enlightened businesses realize that it is in their long-term interest to satisfy their customers. Satisfied customers not only lead to repeat sales but also provide good feedback.

Long term interest of business
Long term interest of business

To prospective customers and thus, help in increasing the customer base of business. Thus, business firms should aim at long-term profit maximization through customer satisfaction.

B. Government Intervention – A business engaging in any form of exploitative trade practices would invite government intervention or action. This can impair and tarnish the image of the company.

Thus, it is advisable that business organisations voluntarily resort to such practices where the customers’ needs and interests will well be taken care of.

C. Social Responsibilty – A business has social responsibilities towards various interest groups. Business organisations make money by selling goods and providing services to consumers.

Social responsibility of Business
Social responsibility of Business

Thus, consumers form an important group among the many stakeholders of the business, and like other stakeholders, their interest has to be well taken care of.

D. Moral justification – It is the moral duty of any business to take care of consumer’s interest and avoid any form of their exploitation. Thus, a business must avoid unscrupulous, exploitative and unfair trade practices like defective and unsafe products, adulteration, false and misleading advertising, hoarding, black marketing etc.


Who can file a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986?

Under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, a complaint before the appropriate Consumer court can be made by:

  • any Consumer;
  • any registered consumer’s association;
  • the Central Government or any State Government;
Who can fila a complaint?
Who can fila a complaint?
  • one or more consumers on behalf of numerous having the same interests; and
  • a legal heir or representative of a deceased consumer

Against whom a complaint can be filed?

  • The seller, manufacturer, or dealer of goods which are defective. Defect means any fault, imperfection, or shortcoming in the quantity, quality, or purity of goods
  • The provider of service if they are deficient in any manner. Deficiency means any imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature, and manner of performance of service.

Remedies or Reliefs available to consumer

If the consumer court is satisfied about the genuineness of the complaint, it can issue one or more of the following directions to the opposite party.

  1. To remove the defect in goods or deficiency in service.
  2. To replace the defective product with a new one, free from any defect.
  3. To refund the price paid for the product, or the charges paid for the service.
  4. To pay a reasonable amount of compensation for any loss or injury suffered by the consumer due to the negligence of the opposite party.
  5. To pay punitive damages in appropriate circumstances.
  6. To discontinue the unfair/ restrictive trade practice and not to repeat it in the future.
  7. Not to offer hazardous goods for sale.
  8. To withdraw the hazardous goods from sale.
  9. To cease the manufacture of hazardous goods and to desist from offering hazardous services.
  10. To pay any amount (not less than 5% of the value of the defective goods or deficient services provided), to be credited to the Consumer Welfare Fund or any other organisation/person, to be utilised in the prescribed manner.
  11. To issue corrective advertisements to neutralise the effect of a misleading advertisement.
  12. To pay adequate costs to the appropriate party

Consumer Rights

The Consumer Protection Act provides for six rights of consumers. The consumer protection councils set up under the Act are intended to promote and protect the various rights of consumers.

If you enjoying this far, this post on Goods and Services Tax can be a good read.

These rights include the following:

(A) Right to Safety : The consumer has a right to be protected against goods and services which are hazardous to life and health.

For instance, electrical appliances which are manufactured with substandard products or do not conform to the safety norms might cause serious injury.

Thus, consumers are educated that they should use electrical appliances which are ISI marked as this would be an assurance of such products meeting quality specifications.

(B) Right to be informed : The consumer has a right to have complete information about the product he intends to buy including its ingredients, date of manufacture, price, quantity, directions for use, etc.

It is because of this reason that the legal framework in India requires the manufactures to provide such information on the package and label of the product.

(C) Right to choose : The consumer has the freedom to choose from a variety of products at competitive prices.

This implies that the marketers should offer a wide variety of products in terms of quality, brand, prices, size, etc. and allow the consumer to make a choice from amongst these.

(D) Right to be Heard : The consumer has a right to file a complaint and to be heard in case of dissatisfaction with a good or service.

It is because of this reason that many enlightened business firms have set up their own consumer service and grievance cells. Many consumer organisations are also working towards this direction and helping consumers in the redressal of their grievances.

(E) Right to seek Redressel : The consumer has a right to get relief in case the product or service falls short of his expectations.

The Consumer Protection Act provides a number of reliefs to the consumers including replacement of the product, removal of a defect in the product, compensation paid for any loss or injury suffered by the consumer, etc.

(G) Right to consumer education :

The consumer has a right to acquire knowledge and to be a well informed consumer throughout life.

He should be aware about his rights and the reliefs available to him in case of a product or service falling short of his expectations. Many consumer organisations and some enlightened businesses are taking an active part in educating consumers in this respect.


The Consumer Protection Act by conferring these rights on the consumers empowers them to fight against any unscrupulous, exploitative and unfair trade practices adopted by sellers.

The Box on East Delhi eatery shows how a restaurant owner was fined for overpriced bottled water. Consumer rights, by themselves, cannot be effective in achieving the objective of consumer protection. Consumer protection can, in effect, be achieved only when the consumers also understand their responsibilities.


What are the responsibilities of consumers?

A consumer should keep in mind the following responsibilities while purchasing, using, and consuming goods and services.

(1) Be aware about various goods and services available in the market so that an intelligent and wise choice can be made.

(2) Buy only standardised goods as they provide quality assurance. Thus, look for ISI mark on electrical goods, FPO mark on food products, Hallmark on jewelry etc.

(3) Learn about the risks associated with products and services, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and use the products safely.

(4) Read labels carefully so as to have information about prices, net weight, manufacturing and expiry dates, etc.

(5) Assert yourself to ensure that you get a fair deal.

(6) Be honest in your dealings. Choose only from legal goods and services and discourage unscrupulous practices like black-marketing, hoarding etc.

(7) Ask for a cash memo on purchase of goods or services. This would serve as a proof of the purchase made. File a complaint in an appropriate consumer forum in case of a shortcoming in the quality of goods purchased or services availed.

(8)Do not fail to take an action even when the amount involved is small.

(9) Form consumer societies which would play an active part in educating consumers and safeguarding their interests.

(10) Respect the environment. Avoid waste, littering, and contributing to pollution.


Three-tier redressal machinery

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides for setting up of three-tier enforcement machinery at the district, state and the national levels for speedy and inexpensive redressel of consumer grievances are:-

(1) District Consumer Dispute Redressel Forums ( briefly referred as District Forums)

(2) State Consumer Disputes Redressel Commissions (State Commissions)

(3) The National Consumer Disputes Redressel Commission (National Commission)

3 tier Redressel  Machinery

Summary

In 1987, more than 1600 people fell had fallen seriously ill and 18 had died after eating food cooked in oil sold by a ration shop in Kolkata’s Bahala area. The poison responsible for this tragedy was triorthocreysl phosphate (TCP) which is used as a plasticizer in the tic industry.

Consumer Protection Act aims at providing protection to consumers against unscrupulous, exploitative, and unfair practices of traders, manufacturers, and service providers educating consumers against the right and responsibilities, providing speedy and inexpensive redressal of their grievances.

The Consumer Protection Act provides for six rights of consumers; right to safety, right to choose, right to heard, right to educate, right to be informed, right to seek redressal.

According to Consumer Protection Act, 1986, any consumer, an association, consumer on behalf of deceased can fight for his rights.

CPA also states some responsibilities that consumer should follow some are

  • Be aware about various goods and services available in the market so that an intelligent and wise choice can be made.
  • Buy only standardized goods as they provide quality assurance. Thus, look for ISI mark on electrical goods, FPO mark on food products, Hallmark on jewelry, etc.
  • Do not fail to take an action even when the amount involved is small.

If consumer is not satisfied according to CPA, he/she can entertain her decision by going to above forum than former.


Its your turn now

So that’s it readers from my side.

I hope that this post was able to help and I provided you with some insights or its even worth little bit.

Please don’t forget to share this post and drop a comment so I can see what you have to say about this.

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Take care and do what best for you and you like.

Be healthy and happy even little, don’t bother it will workout.

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