August 6, 2019
The landmark Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 replaces the three-decade-old Consumer Protection Act of 1986
The bill introduces a central regulator, imposes strict penalties for misleading advertisements and sets guidelines for e-commerce and electronic services
The bill makes provisions for setting up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers as a class
The bill makes provisions in favour of consumers with the promise of fair trade practices and a mechanism for prompt grievance redressal
The Parliament on August 6 gave its nod to the landmark Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 which aims to protect the rights of consumers by establishing authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers’ disputes. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 30th July 2019 passed by the Rajya Sabha through a voice vote. The Bill will replace the existing Consumer Protection Act, 1986 that is more than three decades old.
The new Act proposes a slew of measures and tightens the existing rules to further safeguard consumer rights. Introduction of a central regulator, strict penalties for misleading advertisements and guidelines for e-commerce and electronic service providers are some of the key highlights.
According to a statement by Shri Ramvilas Paswan, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, the new legislation would ease the overall process of consumer grievance redressal. It will provide a better mechanism to dispose off consumer complaints in a speedy manner.
The bill makes provisions for setting up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers as a class. The CCPA would make interventions to prevent consumer detriment arising from unfair trade practices. The agency can also initiate class action, including enforcing recall, refund and return of products. In numerous ways, the bill elevates the standard in favour of consumers.
Given that consumers are also making purchases online, the Bill is cognizant of this and brings within its fold online sales, teleshopping, direct selling and multi-level marketing in addition to the traditional methods. While the earlier law did cover unfair trade practices, the current one makes it more comprehensive.