FEATURES OF THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT- BY SHIVEN ASTHANA

FEATURES OF THE CPA

Salient features of consumer protection act are as follows:

 Coverage of Items:

This Act is applicable on all the products and services, until or unless any product or service isespecially debarred out of the scope of this Act by the Central Government.

 Coverage of Sectors:

This Act is applicable to all the areas whether private, public or cooperative.

 Compensatory Nature of Provisions:

Many Acts have been passed for the help of consumers. Consumers enjoy the benefits of these Acts but if a consumer wishes the Consumer Protection Act can provide extra help. As a result, the nature of provisions of this Act is compensating for the loss or providing extra help. The consumer is totally free to enjoy the benefits provided in the Act.

 Group of Consumer’s Rights:

This Act provides many rights to consumers. These rights are related to safety, information, choice, representation, redressal, education etc.

 Effective Safeguards:

This Act provides safety to consumers regarding defective products, dissatisfactory services, and Munfair trade practices. So under the purview of this Act, there is a provision to ban all those activities which can cause a risk for the consumer.

 Three-tier Grievances Redressal Machinery: Consumer courts have been established so that consumers can enjoy their rights. This Act presents  Three- tier Grievances Redressal Machinery:
(i) At District Level-District Forum
(ii) At State Level -State Commission
(iii) At National Level – National Commission.

It aims at providing overall/holistic protection to the consumers.

-The Act is applicable to entire, except for the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
-The Act is applicable to all goods and services, unless explicitly stated by the Central
Government.
-The Act protects consumer against defective and hazardous goods, deficient and inappropriate services and unfair trade practices like hoarding, black marketing, insider trading, monopolies etc.
-The Act provides redressal of consumer grievances in a simple and inexpensive way.
-The most important aspect of the Act is that it has a set time frame for settlement.
-Consumers having common interests and grievances can collectively file complaint, under ‘class action’ provided under the Act.
-The Act cover both public and private sector suppliers of goods and services.
-The Act provides for formation of Consumer Protection Councils, which promote consumer protection under the consumer rights (Section 6, Consumer Protection Act, 1986). It is important that these councils do not have any legal authority under the Act and merely facilitate addressable of consumer grievances.
-The Act has a comprehensive definition of services. The considers services of any description rendered/offered by any individual or organization, including public sector undertakings or government agency. This excludes free services and contracts of personal services. The following services also do not fail under the purview of the Act:

(a) Civil amenities provided by municipal authorities.

(b) Medical services provided by government hospitals.
-The Act also provides for unfair trade practices like food adulteration, overcharging or short weighing on fixed price items and packaged commodities etc. Such grievances can be
directly taken to District Forums directly. The Act is considered as a progressive instance of social welfare legislation. The Act has fortified consumer movement in India. The Act is one of its kinds, as it pertains to market and seeks redressal of complaints arising out the market interactions.
-The Act is customer-oriented and safeguards the interests of the consumers against unjust and exploitative business practices like selling of defective goods, rendering poor services etc.
-The Act provides for a simple procedure for filing grievances. The complaint can be made in a simple form, where the name and address of aggrieved party and opposing party are duly mentioned. The complaint can be written in form of a letter to the Redressal Forum. It is not obligatory for the parties to engage advocate. The Act allows the complainant or authorized agent to appear before the Redressal Forum.

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