Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 (Download PDF)

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The Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 was introduced in LokSabha in January 2018. The Bill replaces the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Previously in 2015, a Bill had been introduced to replace the 1986 Act.

Image Of Consumer Protection

Image Of Consumer Protection

Image Of Consumer Protection

Need for the New Law

  • During a Rajya Sabha discussion last December, Vice-President narrated his experience with a spurious weight-loss advertisement and how he lost money but never got the medicine.

  • The 2015 Bill acknowledged that the rapid change in consumer markets, introduction of practices such as misleading advertisements, and new modes of transactions (online, teleshopping, etc. ) had necessitated the need for a new law.

  • The Bill was subsequently referred to a Standing Committee, which recommended several changes to it.

  • The Bill was withdrawn and replaced with the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018.

  • The Bill seeks to replace the three-decade-old Consumer Protection Act, 1986, which was amended thrice but is still found wanting in tackling challenges posed by online transactions, and tele-, multi-level, and digital marketing.

Objective of the Bill

To provide for the protection of the interests of consumers and for the said purpose, to establish authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers’ disputes.

About the Bill

  • The Bill is listed for passage in the ongoing Monsoon Session.

  • Consumer Affairs Minister, assured the Upper House that a Bill on consumer protection would be tabled soon.

  • One year later, the Bill is likely to be discussed in LokSabha on Thursday.

  • The Consumer Protection Bill, 2018, was moved in LokSabha but couldn’t be discussed due to pandemonium in the House.

  • It was originally introduced in January 2018, during the last Winter Session of the Parliament.

  • The Bill seeks to set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to “promote, protect and enforce the rights of the consumers. ” The CCPA can act on complaints of unfair trade practices, issue safety guidelines, order product recall or discontinuation of services, refer complaints to other regulators, and has punitive powers such as imposing penalties.

  • The Bill also seeks to provide Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions at national, State and district-levels to look into consumer complaints. Consumer Protection Councils will also be set up at the district, State, and national level, as advisory bodies. Consumer mediation cells will be set-up on the same lines.

Consumer Rights

  • The Bill defines “consumer rights” as the right to be protected against the marketing of goods, products or services which are hazardous to life and property.

  • It is also the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods, products or services; and to be assured of access to a variety of goods, products or services at competitive prices.

  • It also includes the right to be heard and to be assured that the consumer’s interests will receive due consideration at appropriate fora; to seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers; and the right to consumer awareness.

Product Liability

  • The Bill also envisages provisions for product liability action on account of harm caused to consumers due to a defective product or by a deficiency in services.

  • For example, a consumer can sue the cab aggregator if the taxi comes late and as a result, they miss a scheduled flight.

  • Also, the case can be filed from anywhere, unlike the existing law which allows the consumer to register the complaint only from the same place of purchase of the product or where the service is availed.

  • The CCPA has the authority to direct the removal of a misleading advertisement, take punitive action such as imprisonment or imposing penalties on the advertiser and seller, and even barring a person from endorsing the product or service for up to a year.

  • The Bill also lists punitive actions against those who are found manufacturing, storing, distributing, selling, or importing products that are spurious or contain adulterants.

How is the 2018 Bill different from the 1986 Act?

  • The Bill adds various provisions for consumer protection that were absent in the 1986 Act.

  • Key among them are the provisions on product liability and unfair contracts.

  • Under product liability, when a consumer suffers an injury, property damage or death due to a defect in a product or service, he can file a claim for compensation under product liability.

  • The Bill outlines cases in which the product manufacturer, service provider and seller will be held guilty under product liability.

  • Under the proposed law, to claim product liability, an aggrieved consumer has to prove any one of the conditions mentioned in the Bill with regard to a manufacturer, service provider and seller, as the case may be.

- Published/Last Modified on: March 16, 2019

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