By Deeksha Karunakar
July 20, 2020, is the date when all the consumers can cheer as the three-decade-old Consumer Protection Act,1986 has been replaced with the Consumer Protection Act,2019.
This New Act introduces a wide variety of initiatives to better secure consumer rights by tightening up current regulations. Some of the main purposes are the establishment of a central regulator, stringent penalties on misleading advertisements, and guidelines for e-commerce and electronic services.
Changes in the Act
The following are the main changes in the Consumer Protection Act, 2019:-
Consumer Court:- The Act has extended the pecuniary jurisdiction, which means the consumer courts can take up more cases depending on the value of the case. M.R. Madhavan, Co-Founder and President, PRS Legislative Research, stated, “Since access to district courts is better compared to state and national commissions, the increase in the limit to Rs 1 crore of district courts will be a convenience point.” The other significant change is that now the amount spent on purchasing the product till that time will determine the value of the case as opposed to the previous parameter of the total value of the purchased goods/service. The major change in the Act is that it allows the consumer to file their complaint with the court from their place of residence or work. Previously, they were required to file complaints in the area where the seller or service provider was located. In addition, the Act also enables the consumer to seek a hearing through video conferencing, saving him both money and time.
Product Liability:- The Act benefited the consumers since it recognized the manufacturer or service provider liable in case their goods or services cause an injury to the consumer due to manufacturing defect and will pay the compensation of the damage. “Product liability is now extended to service providers and sellers along with manufacturers. This means e-commerce sites cannot escape as aggregators anymore,” said Mukesh Jain, Founder, Mukesh Jain & Associates.
E-Commerce under the Radar:- E-commerce will now be governed by all the laws that apply to direct selling. Such guidelines indicate that the seller 's details, such as his address, website, email, etc, and all other conditions relating to refund, sale, contractual terms, and warranty on their website, be published on platforms including Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc to enhance transparency.
Separate Regulator:- In order to deal with issues concerning consumer rights, unfair trade practices, misleading advertisements, and the penalties for the sale of faulty and fake products, the Act recommends the establishment of a central regulator, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA). CCPA regulatory movements are widest and do not address the customer's grievances or dispute directly to manufacturers, retailers, and service providers. The primary objective of the CCPA is nevertheless to reinforce the existing.