Consumer means:

  • One who buys goods for a consideration for personal use
  • One who uses such goods with permission of buyers of goods
  • One who obtains goods on hire purchase or lease
  • One who hires or avails of any services for a consideration
  • One who uses the service with permission of person who has hired the service
  • One who obtains service on deferred payment basis
  • One who buys goods or avail service exclusively for purpose of earning his livelihood as self-employment.

The consumer does not include-

  • One who buys goods and avail service for commercial purpose
  • One who has not bought the goods

Consumer has the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, purity, potency, standard and price of goods and service.

Consumer protection act can also be described as Common Man’s Civil Court. The act extends to whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It applies to all goods and services unless otherwise notified by the central government. The main objectives of this act is to make available cheap and quick remedy to a small consumer, to provide for better protection of interests of consumers and to establish consumer councils and other authorities for setting the consumers’ disputes.

The complaint should contain the following information:

  • The name, address & description of the complainant
  • The name, address & description of the opposite party or parties
  • The facts relating to complaint, when and where it arose
  • Document (if any) in support of the allegation
  • The relief which the complainant is seeking

One can file a consumer complaint under Consumer Protection Act, 1986 for any of the following reasons:

  1. When a consumer is cheated after purchasing the product.
  2. Fake promise to consumer.
  3. Not delivering goods or service after the payment
  4. Due to any unfair trade practice , consumer faces loss or damages
  5. Goods purchased suffered from defects.
  6. Deficiency in service
  7. Misleading advertisement
  8. Other factors that affect the consumer.

 

Consumer protection redressal agencies

DISTRICT FORUM:

  • The president on the state commission – CHAIRMAN
  • Secretary, law dept. of the state – MEMBER
  • Secretary in charge of the dept. Dealing with consumer affairs in the state – MEMBER

STATE COMMISSION:

  • The president on the state commission – CHAIRMAN
  • Secretary, law dept. of the state – MEMBER
  • Secretary in charge of the dept. Dealing with consumer affairs in the state – MEMBER

NATIONAL COMMISSION:

  • Judge of the Supreme Court to be nominated by the Chief Justice of India – CHAIRMAN
  • Secretary in the dept. Of legal affairs in the Govt. of India – MEMBER
  • SECRETARY OF THE DEPT. Dealing with  Consumer Affairs of the Govt. of India – MEMBER

 

The complaint must be filed within 2 years from the date on which the cause of action arose. The redressal agencies have all the powers of civil court. They have the power to require a person to produce before them books of account, document or commodities. They can also require the person to furnish to specified information required under this act. Under sec 26 -If the complaint is found to be frivolous or vexatious, the commissions may order that the complaint may pay to opposite party costs, which shall not exceed INR10000. Though this section discourages bogus complaints or complaints only with a view to harass someone.

 

COMPLAINTS TO BE REGISTERED

District consumer forum For a claim of compensation up to INR 20lakhs.
State commission For a claim of compensation above INR 20lakhs and up to INR 1crore
National commission For a claim of compensation above INR 1crore

 

 

In Sreedaan Nar N.  v. Registrar, University of Kerala [2001 CTJ 561 (CP) (NCDRC)], THE University refuses to provide LL.B degree certificate on completion of course on the ground that the qualifying examination on the basis of which student was admitted in LL.B course in Kerala law college has not been recognised by it. The National Commission held that this is a clear case of deficiency on part of University. A compensation of INR 50000 was awarded to complainant.

In Gopi Ram Goyal and others v. National Heart Institute and others, 2001 CTJ 405(CP)(NCDRC), the National commission held that where record and evidence shows that the conduct of the opposite parties i.e. doctors was more than reasonable and the level of care was as could be expected from professional in exercising reasonable degree of skill and knowledge. The complaint however failed to prove any case of negligence on the part of doctors, therefore the doctors cannot be held liable for death of patient.

As per the data in 2015-2016, consumer complaint increased by 70% in last 2 years. The complaint received by nation complaint helpline reached above 1.72 lakhs.

 

STATISTICS OF ALL THE REDRESSAL AGENCIES

Sl. No. Name of Agency Cases filed since inception Cases disposed of since inception Cases Pending % of total Disposal
1 National Commission  113117 97571 15546 86.26%
2 State Commissions 760786 651797 108989 85.67%
3 District Forums 3995088 3692798 302290 92.43%
  TOTAL 4868991 4442166 426825 91.23%

 

Consumer protection law are designed to ensure fair competition and free flow of truthful information in the market place. This law is designed to prevent business that are engaged in fraud and specified unfair trade practice. Whereas very few consumer are aware of their right, responsibilities and consumer protection Act. Though the government is fruitful in giving protection to the consumer in real sense.  It is hoped that further improvement in the act would aim at even more efficiency.

 

Reference links:

  1. http://ncdrc.nic.in/bare_acts/Consumer%20Protection%20Act-1986.html
  2. https://accommodationtimes.com/short-notes-on-the-consumer-protection-act-1986/
  3. http://ccrc.in/success_stories.php?id=1
  4. http://www.legalserviceindia.com/laws/National_commission/sc_consumerjudgments.htm