New Consumer Protection Act empowers customers, brings e-commerce sites under its purview

By Sumit Jha  Published on  21 July 2020 2:17 PM GMT
New Consumer Protection Act empowers customers, brings e-commerce sites under its purview

Hyderabad: The Consumer Protection Act 2019 that came into force from 20 July will protect consumers not only from traditional buyers but also from unfair trade practices by e-commerce platforms.

The new Bill was passed in the Parliament on 6 August last year and became an Act on 9 August. It will replace the Consumer Protection Act 1986.

The Act makes it compulsory for e-commerce platforms to acknowledge the receipt of any consumer complaint within 48 hours. They will also have to redress the complaint within a month from the date of receipt.

Now, the consumer will not have to travel to the place of purchase and file complaints. They can file them at a district or state consumer commission closest to their residence. "Earlier, many consumers would not visit the forum or court. The new Act will encourage them to go to the court or forum for redressal,” said Gopi Kishore, the vice-president of a consumer association and the Telangana Bar association. Also, the nominal fee for filing a case in the court is very low. "It will motivate consumers to file complaints,” said Gopi Kishore.

According to the new Act, the district forums have jurisdiction on cases where the claim amount does not exceed Rs. 1 crore. Earlier, this figure was Rs. 20 lakh. The state forums have jurisdiction where the claim is up to Rs. 10 crores, while for the national forums it is up to Rs. 100 crores.

Under the new Act, a seller and manufacturer will be liable to provide compensation for any injury or damage caused by a defective product or service. Action will be taken against the manufacturer for misleading advertisements. Action will also be taken against food companies for adulteration.

Meanwhile, the establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) will promote, protect, and enforce the rights of consumers. “The CCPA will be empowered to conduct the investigation into violations of consumer rights and institute complaints/prosecution, order recalls of unsafe goods and services, order discontinuance of unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements, impose penalties on manufacturers/endorsers/publishers of misleading advertisements,” said Ram Vilas Paswan, the Union minister for consumer affairs.

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