The goal of the Consumer Protection Act is to remove all barriers to competition among business units. It aims to better protect consumers’ interests by establishing consumer councils and other associated authorities for the resolution of consumer disputes. The regulations are intended to provide consumers with effective protection against exploitation and harassment. This statute is more comprehensive in scope and extends beyond punitive or preventive measures. The Consumer Protection Act, unlike other legislation, is also compensating in character. The benefit of this legislation is that it is adaptable, with a broader jurisdiction and a low-cost justice system. Unless specifically exempted by the Central Government, the Consumer Protection Act applies to all goods and services. It is applicable to all sectors, including public, private, and cooperative enterprises. It gives easy, quick, and cost-effective adjudicatory authorities. It also establishes consumer protection councils at the federal, state, and local levels.

Who is a consumer?

Any person who buys goods or services for personal use, and not for manufacturing or resale purpose, is called a customer. A customer is one who chooses whether to purchase an item at the supermarket.

According to Consumer Protection Act,1986 a consumer means any person who-

(i) “buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, and includes any user of such goods other than the person who buys such goods for consideration paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment when such use is made with the approval of such person but does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or for any commercial purpose;
(ii) “ hires or avails of any services for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, and includes any beneficiary of such services other than the person who hires or avails of the services for consideration paid or promised, or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, when such services are availed of with the approval of the first-mentioned person”.

Need for Consumer Protection

1. Consumers require physical protection, such as protection from products that are hazardous or detrimental to their health and welfare.

2. Customers expect to be protected from misleading and unfair trade and market practices.

3. Consumer protection against all sorts of pollution is required so that they can enjoy a healthy environment free of pollution of water, air, and food.

4. Consumer protection against monopolistic and restrictive trade practices is also required. Protection is denied if it is delayed.

Who can file a complaint?

The Consumer Court can be pursued with a complaint by:

  • A consumer

  • The person has purchased items or received services in exchange for a pecuniary value.

  • The goods must have been purchased for personal use rather than for resale or business reasons.

  • Any established association within the Companies Act, 1956, or under any other law is referred to as a voluntary consumer association.

  • The Central or the State Government.

  • A group of consumers who share a common interest.

  • In the instance of a consumer’s death, his or her lawful heir or representative.3

Grounds for consumer complaint:

  • Any trader has engaged in an unfair trade practice or a restricted trade practice.

  • He has one or more issues in the things he has purchased or agreed to purchase.

  • He has a shortfall in any of the services he has hired or promised to hire or avail of.

  • A dealer has charged a price for the items described in the complaint that is higher than the price set by or under any current law or displayed on the products or any box containing such commodities.

  • Items that, when used, will be hazardous to life and safety are being offered for sale to the public in violation of any law currently in existence requiring dealers to show information about the contents, manner, and effect of such goods’ usage.

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