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The consumer protection Act,1986

Introduction : India is a vast country where a majority of consumers are poor, helpless and disorganized. Further, market in India is generally a sellers market and it is very easy to cheat the innocent consumers. It is now realized that a common consumer is neither knowledgeable nor well informed. He needs support and protection from unscrupulous sellers. A common consumer is not in a position to approach civil court. Quick, cheap and speedy justice to his complaints is required. The biggest help in this direction has come from the government. The Central Government enacted a law in the year 1986 for the protection of consumers known as The Consumer Protection Act,1986.

Object
The Consumer Protection Act is no doubt a revolutionary piece of legislation which can grow into an important tool for development. The Act seeks to provide for better protection of the interests of consumers. For this purpose it makes provision for the establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumer disputes. The Consumer Protection Act recognizes six consumer rights. These rights are : 1. the right to be protected against marketing of goods which are hazardous to life and property 2.the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, purity, standard and price of goods to protect the consumers against unfair trade practices 3. the right to be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of goods at competitive prices 4.the right to be heard and to be assured that consumers interest will receive due consideration at appropriate forums 5.the right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers , and 6. the right to consumer education

Important Terminology
Who can file a complaint? Complaint can be filed by a complainant. The term complainant means: (1) a consumer or 2. any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act,1956 or any other law for the time being in force or 3. the Central Government or any State Government 4. one or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest who or which makes a complaint.

Complaint

Means any allegation in writing made by a complainant that1. the goods brought by him or agreed to be bought by him suffer from one or more defects 2. an unfair trade practice or a restrictive trade practice has been adopted by any trader 3. deficiency in services 4. a trader charges excess price above price fixed by any law 5.goods which will be hazardous to life and safety

Consumer: for the purpose of goods, a consumer means any person who buys goods for which the payment has been made or even promised to be paid. It also includes any authorized user of goods but excludes a person who obtains such goods for resale or for any commercial purpose. (this is brief- ( read the text book for further explanation) Defect: it means any fault, imperfection or shortcoming in the quality, quantity etc. Restrictive trade practices : means any trade practice which requires a consumer to buy, or avail of any goods as a condition precedent for buying . This is called tie up sales. Eg: compelling consumer to buy gas stove or cocker from the dealer while giving gas connection. Unfair trade practices: means trade practice which, for the purpose of promoting the sale or supply of any goods adopts any unfair method or deceptive practice . Eg. False statements

Consumer Protection Councils


The interests of consumers are sought to be promoted and protected under the Act by establishment of Consumer Protection Councils at the central and state levels. These councils are advisory bodies. Where to file a complaint? If the cost of goods or services and compensation asked for, is less than rupees five lakhs, then the complaint can be filed in the District Forum which has been notified by the State Government. If more than five lakhs, complaint can be filed before the State commission notified by State Government

speedy. There is no fee for filing a complaint before the District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission. The complaint can be sent by post to the appropriate Forum/commission. The complaint should contain the following information: 1. the name, description and the address of the complainant 2. the name, description and the address of the opposite party 3. the facts relating to complaint and when and where it arose 4.documents, if any, support of the allegations contained in the complaint 5. the relief which the complainant is seeking The complaint should be signed by the complainant or his authorized agent Relief available to Consumers: Depending upon the nature of relief sought by the consumer and facts, the Redressal Forums may give orders for one or more of the following reliefs: 1. Removal of defects from the goods 2. Replacement of the goods 3. Refund of the price paid or 4. Award of compensation for the loss or injury suffered

How to fileand seeking redressal are simple and a complaint? Procedures for filing complaints

Redressal Machinery under the Act


District Forum State Commission National Commission

Limitation period for filling of complaint: Section 24 A of the Consumer Protection Act provides that the District forums, the State commission or the National commission shall not admit a complaint unless it is filed within two years from the date on which the cause of action has arisen.