Consumer Protection Act 1986 Notes|Summary
The Consumer Protection Act 1986 India was enacted by the Parliament of India in 1986 for protecting the primary interests of the consumers in India.
This Consumer Protection Act 1986 came into operation w.e.f 24.12.1986 by an act of the Parliament of India. This act was introduced to safeguarding the sole interests of the consumers and also provided provisions for the creation of consumer councils and other authorities for prompt redressal of the consumer grievances.
This act is applicable for whole India except Jammu & Kashmir and applicable to all goods and services. So, the main aim of enacting this act is primarily providing the consumers with all-round protection. Their interests, their rights, their benefits are to be ensured and enforced.
⇒ What is the meaning of Consumer Protection Act 1986?
Consumer Protection Act 1986 is an act of the Parliament of India and was enacted in 1986. The purpose of introducing this act was for protecting the interests of the consumers in India.
The objective was very much clear that the consumers are to be protected from being exploited by the unscrupulous traders and to stop the unfair trade practices.
This act was the first one to introduce the concept of Consumer. Now let us see as per the provisions of this act who can be termed as a ‘Consumer‘
Consumer means a person who:
- Buys any goods for consideration for his own use or for others but not meant for resale or for any commercial use;
- Hires or avails of any services for consideration;
- Uses the goods with the approval of the buyer;
- Buys goods for self-employment.
Therefore, it can be said that a person who buys goods or avails of services for his own consumption is termed as a consumer. This act has barred a person to be termed as a consumer if he buys goods for resale purpose or for any commercial purpose.
The Consumer Protection Act 1986 India introduced the concept of the consumer. So, it was designed in a way to protect and promote the interests of the consumers only.
This Act has made strict provisions for providing simpler and quicker access to redressal of consumer grievances.
It has also made provisions for the creation of machinery where consumers can file their complaints being aggrieved.
⇒ What are the main objectives of Consumer Protection Act 1986?/ Features of Consumer Protection Act 1986
The primary objectives of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is to protecting and promoting the interests of the consumers. Now let us see below what are the main objectives of Consumer Protection Act 1986:
Main Objectives of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 are as follows
- Ensuring better protection of the interests of the consumers;
- Promoting and protecting the rights of the consumers;
- Ensuring the right to be protected from the marketing of hazardous goods;
- Protecting the rights of the consumers to be informed regarding the quality, quantity, purity and price of the different goods;
- Ensuring the rights of the consumers of getting the goods at competitive prices;
- Ensuring the right to be heard;
- Enforcing the right of grievance redressal against unfair trade practices;
- Ensuring the right to consumer education;
- Establish a speedy and simple consumer disputes redressal mechanism;
- Also setting up a quasi-judicial system at the District, State and Central levels.
⇒When did Consumer Protection Act 1986 came into force?
Since money is considered sweeter than honey, every person wants to earn more and more money by whatever means. For them earning money beyond the sky is the limit and not the sky. There is no morality, legality and legitimacy.
It was observed that during the war period between 1960 to 1972, Indin people had gone through the toughest time in terms of black marketing, hoarding, adulteration, cheating and many more.
The number of unscrupulous and unfair trade practices were rising by leaps and bounds during that period.
It gave rise to consumer exploitation to the extreme level. This had badly affected the well-being of Indian consumers at that time.
But being exploited, being aggrieved the Indian consumers started to raise their voice cum agitation against these sorts of illegal activities of the trader communities.
They raised their voices across the country against unfair practices. As a result of their long protests, the Government came up with a new act known as the Consumer Protection Act 1986.
This act came into force w.e.f 24th December 1986 and applicable to the whole of India except Jammu & Kashmir. This Act mainly aimed at protecting the rights of the consumers and ensuring them a healthy market for day to day trading.
⇒ How does Consumer Protection Act protect consumers?
The Consumer Protection Act,1986 enforces certain rights and interests of the consumers. This Act established some machinery for attaining the complaints of the consumers.
The authority under this Act is solely responsible for quick and simple redressal of the grievances of the consumers. Providing a corruption-free, competitive market place for the consumers by restoring the primary rights are the main objectives of this Act.
This act has mainly emphasised on protecting the interests of the consumers. Ensuring safety, security and satisfaction have been the topmost priorities of this act.
The Government within the purview of this act has established three-tier(District, State and Central) grievance redressal forums. In this forums, an exploited consumer can file his complaints and his grievances would be given priority to restoring his rights.
District Level Grievance Redressal: This forum deals with the complaints where the compensation claimed by the consumers is less than Rs.20 lakh. This is known as Pecuniary Jurisdiction. It means the monetary limit in the judicial hierarchy of this consumer redressal forum.
State Level Grievance Redressal: This State Forum deals with the complaints where the value of the goods and services and compensation claimed by the consumers does not exceed Rs.1 Crore.
Central Level Grievance Redressal: This Central level Forum deals with the complaints where the value of the goods and services and compensation claimed by the consumers is more than Rs. 1 Crore.
The consumer councils both at the state and Central level are created to advise and assist the consumers in seeking and enforcing their rights. They have to make investigations and make publicity of the matters concerning consumer interests.
Also, these authorities are responsible for furthering the consumer education, protecting the consumers from exploitation and advise the Govt. in formulating policies for the well being of the consumers.
Also, the Government of India has come up with many consumer awareness programmes(e.g. Jago Grahak Jago) for educating the consumers about their rights and what they are supposed to do if they are cheated or exploited by an unscrupulous trader.
It is imperatively difficult to cheat an educated and well-informed consumer. So the right of consumer education is also being ensured so that the possibilities of cases like cheating, exploitation and black marketing get reduced substantially.
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⇒ What are the 6 Basic Rights of the Consumers ?/ Rights of Consumer Protection Act 1986
There are 6 basics rights of the consumers that this Act tries to ensure and establish. The Rights of Consumer Protection Act 1986 are as follows:-
1. Right to Safety
The Consumer Protection Act ensures consumers’ basic rights to safety. This simply means they are to be protected against the marketing of any hazardous goods and services which threaten the lives and properties of the consumers.
Therefore while buying any goods or availing of any services, the consumers are to be given assurance regarding the quality and guarantee of the products and services.
The consumers must insist on the quality of the goods and services must be tested and validated before they are marketed and are to be ensured that they are not hazardous to any lives or properties.
For example, while buying any pressure cooker, a gas cylinder and other electrical appliances, consumers must focus on quality marked such as ISI, AGMARK etc. Because any manufacturing defects in these products may cause loss of life.
2. Right to be Informed
This Act ensures the rights of the consumers to be informed regarding the quality, quantity, purity and price of the different goods that are being sold in the market. The information about the quality, purity and price must be given at a suitable place.
They must insist on getting all the information regarding the goods or services before taking any buying decision. This will lead to a well-informed consumer who is going to protect himself or herself against any abusive or unfair trade practices.
3. Right to Choose
As per this right, consumers must have the right to choose between different products or services at competitive prices. This Consumer Protection Act 1986 India ensures that there are various sellers selling similar kind of products and services and consumers have the option to choose from them.
This will eradicate the possibilities of Monopoly market. Therefore, this act meant for the right to be assured of the quality of goods and services at a fair price. This ensures the basic rights to goods and services. The consumer must be free to choose from any brands of his liking and not under any pressure.
4. Right to be Heard
This means that the consumer has the right to advocate his interests in case he is exploited or aggrieved. In simple words, the consumer has the right to represent himself or of being heard at the appropriate consumer forums for getting due recognition of his interests.
This act ensures that the consumers’ voice gets due recognition in the appropriate redressal forums or consumer courts. This empowers the consumer to raise his or her voice against any unscrupulous or unfair trade practices.
So, this act gives consumers the right to being heard and right of representation to the appropriate levels. This is indeed a great move by this act for providing the best consumer satisfaction.
5. Right to Consumer Education
This means the consumer has the right to acquire adequate knowledge and information to be an informed consumer. If a consumer is literate and has an adequate skill set, there are reduced possibilities of being exploited.
Many consumers in our country are not aware of this Consumers Protection Act 1986 India. Even they don’t know that they are protected under this act. If they don’t know about their rights, how would they seek justice when they get aggrieved.
Therefore, consumer education both in urban and rural areas are very much crucial in terms of restoring the consumer’s fundamental rights. Government has taken various initiatives in providing education to consumers and letting them know about their rights and responsibilities.
Last few years we can see various advertisement campaigns in televisions, electronic media popularly known as Jago Grahak Jago campaign. This kind of consumer awareness programme would help them in deciding what to purchase when to purchase and at what price to be purchased.
6. Right to Seek Redressal
This act ensures that whenever the consumer is exploited or aggrieved by any unfair or abusive trade practices, he seeks redressal to the Consumer Forums or Consumer Courts. This machinery helps consumers in providing justice to them against any cheating or exploitation.
The aggrieved consumers will file their complaints to these forums or courts for getting justice. However, these complaints should be genuine. This authority has to address the complaints whatever may be the value. Justice is justice and the value is irrelevant.
This authority if so deems fit may order for compensation in the form of money or replacement of goods or repair of the defect in the goods as per the satisfaction of the consumer.
This quasi-judicial system at the District, State and Central levels have been set up to redress the complaints lodged by the consumers within a quick time and in a simple manner. This certainly boosts up the consumers’ confidence and increases their faith in the act of the Government.
⇒ Consumer Protection Act 1986 Notes
While we are discussing Consumer Protection Act 1986 Notes, it is very pertinent to know that who can file a complaint and when a complaint can be filed under this act.
Who can file a complaint?
As per Section 2(1) of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 Notes the following persons are allowed to make a complaint and they are called the Complainant
- A consumer; or
- Any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act, 1956 or under any other law for the time being in force; or
- The Central Government or any State Government; or
- One or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest; or
- In case of death of a consumer, his legal heir or representative who or which makes a complaint;
When a complaint can be filed?
A complaint can be filed by a consumer when he feels cheated, exploited or has been a prey to unfair trade practices. But more specifically, a complaint must contain the following allegations or charges:
- An unfair or restrictive trade practice has been adopted by a trader;
- The goods purchased by him suffer from one or more defects;
- There is a deficiency in the services hired or availed of by a consumer for a consideration;
- A trader has charged more prices than fixed by any law.
When a complaint can not be filed?
As per Section 2(1) of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 Notes, for the following grounds, a complaint can not be lodged or filed by consumers:
- When complaints are filed by the public on behalf of the unidentified consumers;
- Complaint filed by an individual on behalf of the public;
- Complaint by an unregistered association;
- Lastly, two years have been elapsed from the date on which the cause of action arises unless the forum has any substantial reasons for not filing the complaint within the scheduled time
How a complaint can be filed under the Consumer Protection Act 1986?
Under Section 2(1) of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 Notes, the following criteria must be fulfilled to file a complaint:
- The complaint should be filed within two years from the date of buying of the goods or availing the services;
- The complaint must be filed in writing. The complaint should be sent by registered post, hand-delivered, email, or fax. Also, you must take an acknowledgement of the complaint;
- The complaint must include certain crucial points such as the name and address of the complainant and the person or the entity against whom the complaint is being filed. Copies of relevant purchase documents or payment receipts or invoices must be enclosed;
- The consumer must specify in his complaint the details of the problem i.e. defects in the goods or deficiency in the services
- The consumer must specify his demands on the company for redressal like he wants a replacement of the product or removal of the defect(s), refund, or compensation for expenses incurred. The claims shall be reasonable and justified;
- The complaint can be in any Indian language and in English as well;
- Finally, you must maintain a complete record of the emails and documents so received and sent regarding this case.
⇒ Consumer Protection Act 1986 Summary
In view of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 Summary, one point needs to be given light i.e. who should be sued by the consumer- Manufacturer or Seller. This is really very interesting.
When a consumer finds any defects in the goods he purchased, he just sues the person from whom he bought the goods. But if the defect is a manufacturing defect, he may sue the manufacturer along with the seller here.
This is really very interesting and beneficial on the part of the consumer as well. In this case, the consumer has one option. So, the manufacturer here is termed as a possible party and the seller is a necessary party.
Vested Power of the Consumer Forums
The consumer forums are vested with the civil court power in relation to the following:
- Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any defendant or witness;
- Discovery and production of any document or other material object as evidence;
- Receiving evidence on affidavits;
- Requisition of the report of any analysis or test.