World Consumer’s day & Consumer Rights in India
Every year March 15 is celebrated as World Consumer Rights Day to spread awareness about a consumer's rights and needs. It is an annual occasion, observed on a global level to protect the rights of consumers and to ensure that the consumer' are not subjected to market abuse or social injustice that may undermine their rights.
• The consumer movement marks 15th March with World Consumer Rights Day every year, as a means of raising global awareness about consumer rights and needs.
• In India, we celebrate National Consumer Day on December 24. We have a Consumer Forum to address the issues and safeguard the rights of the consumers.
• The campaign will discuss the need for sustainable consumption globally, as well as highlighting the important role that consumer rights and protection can play.
• The aim of sustainable consumption is to increase resource efficiency and fair trade while helping to alleviate poverty and enable everyone to enjoy a good quality of life with access to food, water, energy, medicine and more.
• The United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP), adopted in 1985, are "a valuable set of principles for setting out the main characteristics of effective consumer protection legislation, enforcement institutions and redress systems".
According to the Consumers International organization, the theme for World Consumer Rights Day 2020, will be “The Sustainable Consumer”.
In India, The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 lays down the rights of the consumers and provides for promotion and protection of the rights of the consumers. It has been replaced by ‘TheConsumer Protection Act, 2019’.
The Consumer Protection Act, 2019
Definition of consumer: A consumer is defined as a person who buys any good or avails a service for a consideration. It does not include a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purpose. It covers transactions through all modes.
Rights of consumers: Six consumer rights have been defined in the Act, including the right to:
o be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property;
o be informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services;
o be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive prices; and
o seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices.
Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA): The body will promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers. It will regulate matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements. The CCPA will have an investigation wing, headed by a Director-General, which may conduct inquiry or investigation into such violations.
Penalties for misleading advertisement: The CCPA may impose a penalty on a manufacturer or an endorser of up to Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for up to two years for a false or misleading advertisement. In case of a subsequent offence, the fine may extend to Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of up to five years.
Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (CDRCs): It will be set up at the district, state, and national levels. A consumer can file a complaint with CDRCs in relation to unfair or restrictive trade practices; defective goods or services; overcharging or deceptive charging etc.
Complaints against an unfair contract can be filed with only the State and National Appeals from a District CDRC will be heard by the State CDRC. Appeals from the State CDRC will be heard by the National CDRC. Final appeal will lie before the Supreme Court.
Jurisdiction of CDRCs: The District CDRC will entertain complaints where value of goods and services does not exceed Rs one crore. The State CDRC will entertain complaints when the value is more than Rs one crore but does not exceed Rs 10 crore. Complaints with value of goods and services over Rs 10 crore will be entertained by the National CDRC.
Product liability: Product liability means the liability of a product manufacturer, service provider or seller to compensate a consumer for any harm or injury caused by a defective good or deficient service.
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