The Lok Sabha Thursday passed The Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 that would replace the 1986 Act. The bill enforces consumer rights and provides a mechanism for redressal of complaints regarding deficiencies in goods and services. The bill was introduced in the Lower House January this year.
Here are the major takeaways of the legislation
* The amended law aims to set up the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions as quasi-judicial bodies to adjudicate disputes.
* The bill will set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority to promote, protect and enforce consumer rights as a class. It can issue safety notices for goods and services, order refunds, recall goods and rule against misleading advertisements.
* The Bill empowers the central government to appoint, remove and prescribe conditions of service for members of the District, State and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions.
* A consumer who suffers an injury from a defect in a good or a deficiency in service will have the power to file a claim of product liability against the manufacturer, the seller, or the service provider.
* Consumer Protection Councils will be set up at the district, state, and national level, as advisory bodies.
* The bill defines contracts as ‘unfair’ if they significantly affect the rights of consumers. It also defines unfair and restrictive trade practices.
* Appeals from the District Commissions will be heard by the State Commission, and from the State Commission by the National Commission. Appeals from the National Commission will be heard by the Supreme Court.
* The Commissions will attempt to dispose of a complaint within three months if the complaint does not require analysis or testing of commodities.
* The bill also provides for mediation cells attached to the District, State and National Commissions. The Commissions may refer a matter for mediation if the parties consent to settle their dispute in this manner.