Updated: Sep 25, 2021
CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT 1986(COPRA1986):
This act was passed in Parliament of India in October 1986 and came into force on December 24, 1986. It was formed to protect the consumer's rights in case any good or service fails to keep up with the expectations of the consumers. It has helped in providing relief to the consumers who fell for the trap of malpractices done by the sellers.
CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT 2019 (COPRA2019):
This act received the assent of the president on 9th August 2019. It has a wider scope than COPRA1986. This has helped in protecting the rights of the consumers by
1) Facilitating the establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Authority.
2)Increasing jurisdiction of District Forum, State Commission and National Commission.
3) facilitating the formation of mediation cells and Central Protection Councils at the District, State and National levels.
4)emphasizing the concept of product liability and regulations for e-businesses to help form a regulated and conducive environment for consumers to participate in an exchange of goods and services.
WHO IS A CONSUMER ACCORDING TO COPRA2019?When we think of the word "consumer", an image of a lady filling her shopping cart with groceries at a grocery shop strikes our brain. But in reality, it has a deeper meaning. According to COPRA2019, a consumer is a person who buys goods or hires services for consideration but it doesn't include the person who buys goods or hires services for commercial purposes.
EXCEPTIONS TO THE WORD CONSUMER:
1)A patient receiving medical treatment in a government hospital.
2)A client of an advocate.
3)A student hiring service from a private tutor.
4) A tenant
5)A person who buys goods / hires services without consideration
6)A person who buys goods/ hires services for resale purposes
WHO CAN BE A COMPLAINANT ACCORDING TO COPRA2019?:
2)Any voluntary consumer association
3)The Central Government / State Government
4)The Central Authority
5)More than one consumer sharing the same interest
6)In case of the death of a consumer, his/her legal heir/representative
7)In case of the consumer being a minor, his/her legal guardian/parents
CENTRAL CONSUMER PROTECTION AUTHORITY (CCPA):
This authority is being constituted under Section 10(1) of the COPRA2019. it emphasizes protecting the rights of consumers by cracking down on misleading advertisements and other unfair practices. CCPA's Investigation wing will have the power to enter any premise and search and seize any document/article. This power is given to them by the provision of The Code of Criminal Procedure 1973. It can file a complaint before any other institution and will issue a safety notice alert against dangerous/ hazardous/ unfair goods/services.
PECUNIARY JURISDICTION OF COMMISSIONS:
1)District Forum's jurisdiction has been raised from Rs 20 lakh TO Rs 1 crore.
2)State Commission's jurisdiction has been raised between Rs 20 lakh and up to Rs 1 crore TO between Rs 1 crore and up to Rs 10 crore.
3)National Commission's jurisdiction has been raised from above Rs 1 crore TO above Rs 10 crore.
MEDIATION CELLS AND PENALTIES:
In simple words, Mediation refers to a process where an impartial third party helps the disputing parties in solving their problem by using special communication and negotiation techniques.
1)Section 74 of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 provides State government to establish and attach mediation cells to each district and state commission of that particular state.
2)According to Section 37(2) of the Act, the parties agree to settle by mediation and give their consent in writing then that case will be referred for mediation within 5 days of receiving consent by the District Forum. Provision of Chapter V will apply to that case then.
If anybody fails to follow the rules of the commission then he/she may face imprisonment up to 3 years, or a fine of a minimum of Rs 25,000 which is extendable to Rs 1 lakh, or both.
PRODUCT LIABILITY :
Product liability means that it is the responsibility of the product manufacturer/
seller, of any product/service to compensate for the harm caused to the consumer by the shortcomings of their product/service despite reading the instructions or warnings provided by the seller carefully and using them in the right way. If any supplier fails to do so then a complaint can be filed against him.
IMPACT OF COPRA2019 ON E-COMMERCE:
This Act has emphasised protecting the consumers from the unfair practices taking place during online transactions of goods and services. According to the Act within 48 hours, all the E-commerce platforms will have to acknowledge the consumer complaint and redress it within a month from the date of receipt of the complaints
Consumer Protection Act 2019 has not only provided us with a modified redressal mechanism but has also made various terms very clear by providing vivid definitions of them. This Act has helped the consumers in regaining their status as the king of the market and also put a halt to unfair trade practices. It has covered the deficiencies of COPRA1986. This Act has not only protected the buyers from traditional sellers but also the online sellers. Now the saying has changed from ''CAVEAT EMPTOR"(consumer beware)' to "CAVEAT VENDITOR"(seller beware).