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1.Introduction
Consumer protection refers to a set of laws and organisations that are designed to protect
consumers' rights and interests. In 1986, the Consumer Protection Act was enacted, and
separate Consumer Dispute Redressal Forums were established across India (in each and
every district). The Consumer Protection Act of 1986 was enacted to better protect
consumers' interests.
The act was passed in the Lok Sabha on December 9, 1986, and the Rajya Sabha on
December 10, 1986, and it was signed by the President of India on December 24, 1986. This
act went into effect on April 15, 1987.
Consumer Association
A consumer association is a membership-based non-profit organisation dedicated to
promoting the interests of buyers of products and services by disseminating information and
advocating for legislation to protect consumers from manufacturers and retailers who are
either more organised or have more money.
Citizens often form consumer groups because they recognise the following:
 There is a need for an independent, non-political, and non-commercial group to voice
the concerns that affect consumers in a market economy
 There is a need for the under-represented, i.e., the inarticulate and disadvantaged, to
have their voices heard in order to address the disparity in bargaining power,
knowledge, and resources between consumers and businesses;
 and consumer associations would be an effective avenue to collectively exercise the
civil rights of disadvantaged/vulnerable communities/groups or those with disabilities.
Intent
 Consumers should be made aware of their rights.
 consumers' interests are secured
 Boost market awareness.
 Brochures, articles, and monographs should all be written.
 On behalf of customers, file lawsuits, appeals, and petitions.
 Price rigging, adulteration, and black marketing are all items that must be stopped.
 To keep an eye on commodity prices, quality and quantity, and the consistency of
consumer goods.
what roles do they perform?
Internationally, there is no set agreement on how best to define a consumer association. In general,
though, consumer associations - also known as consumer organizations or consumer groups4 - are
non-governmental civil society organizations that represent consumers’ interests, while defending
their rights in the marketplace. Although they are usually non-profit making, and largely
independent from governments or businesses, they may be fully, or partially, financed by a
government or other agencies. Today, the work and achievements of consumer associations in
consumer protection are widely accepted, and they now represent consumers' interests in the
following areas
i. National constitutions
ii. ii. Consumer protection statutes
iii. iii. National consumer policy documents
iv. iv. Consumer redress mechanisms such as consumer courts and alternative dispute
resolution mechanisms
v. v. Industry mediation bodies
vi. vi. Industry regulatory processes
vii. vii. Codes of practice
viii. viii. National-level government-sponsored committees.
National and local Level – Actions
Consumer organisations at national and local levels have undertaken a wide range of actions that
draw on their well-honed skills in independent research, advocacy, testing and publishing. Most
of these actions involve: -
 educating consumers with a view to changing their attitudes and behaviour.
 providing consumers with timely information about popular products and services.
 monitoring and exposing misleading "claims" by product manufacturers and advertisers,
and helping governments draw up codes of practice, laws and regulations that outlaw them.
 researching "labelling" schemes to help consumers identify ethical and "green" products.
 conducting campaigns in response to specific consumer-related problems.
 advocating for the interests of consumers at relevant national, regional, and international
fora; and
 networking and cooperating with other NGOs on consumer issues of shared concern and
interest.
CASE STATISTICS RELEASED FOR THE YEAR 2017
The Association had received a total of 15,744 complaints for the year 2017. Out
of 15,744 complaints, CASE has taken up 2,253 cases in the year 2017.
PERCENTAGE BREAKDOWN OF COMPLAINTS
The chart below shows the percentage breakdown of complaints
CASE MEDIATION
Since the inception of our mediation centre in 1999 and as part of its process, CASE has arranged
for mediation between disputed parties.
There were 133 cases resolved in the year 2016. This accounts to a 70.74% resolve rate.
CONSUMER PROTECTION (FAIR TRADING) ACT 2003 ("THE ACT")
This Act provides the legislative framework to allow consumers aggrieved by unfair practices to
have recourse to civil remedies before the courts. It also provides for a cooling-off period for direct
sales and timeshare contracts, and allows specified bodies to enter voluntary compliance
agreements with, or apply for injunction orders against errant traders - Ministry of Trade and
Industry, Singapore.
On doing a year to year comparison, the number reported breaches of the Act by consumer are as
presented in Table 2 below:
Disputes received under the Act (Filed)
Year Disputes received under the Act
2016 978
2017 978
The Top 3 industries, whose business practices or products are reportedly suppose to have
breached the Act, are presented in Table 3:
Top 3 industries that have been breaching the Act in 2017 (Filed)
Ranking Industry
1 Motorcars
2 Electrical and Electronics
3 Beauty
Top 3 industries that have been breaching the Act in 2017 (Assisted)
Ranking Industry
1 Motorcars
2 Contractors
3 Furniture
VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE AGREEMENT ("VCA") / INJUNCTION
Voluntary Compliance Agreement is a voluntary document signed by a business whereby the
business admits to committing unfair practices under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act
and promised not to commit further unfair practices. Should the business commits further unfair
practices, CASE may take out an injunction/declaration proceedings against the business.
Injunction proceeding is to stop the business from further carrying out the unfair business practices.
Table 4 below presents the number of VCAs that have been voluntarily signed by businesses since
1 March 2004 to 31 December 2016. Table 5 presents the injunction/declaration proceedings that
have been taken against the businesses in the same period.
VCAs that have been voluntarily signed by businesses
(1 March 2004 - 31 December 2017)
Total
Consolidated VCA and Undertakings 21
Injunction/Declaration Proceedings that have been taken out against businesses
(1 March 2004 - 31 December 2017)
Total
Injunction/Declaration Proceedings 6
List of companies that CASE have taken out Injunction / Declaration Proceedings
 Orion’s Belt Network Pte Ltd
 Global Europe (Asia) Pte Ltd
 Naughty by Nature Pte Ltd
 Garraway Enterprises Limited Singapore Branch
 Concord Developments Pte Ltd
 Mr Chiok Wee Juo Trading as Olena, Bez Gallery
and The Exquisite Promenade
Pending Declaration/Injunction Proceedings as of 31 Dec 2017
Total
Pending Declaration/Injunction Proceedings 0
Alternatives
Possible Alternatives
Recently Parliament passed new Consumer Protection Bill 2019 which will replace earlier
Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
Some of the key Provisions:
1. Definition of consumer: 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 including offline, and online
2. Rights of consumers: Six consumer rights have been defined in the Bill,
including the right to: (i) be protected against marketing of goods and
services which are hazardous to life and property; (ii) be informed of the
quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services;
(iii) be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive
prices; and (iv) seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices.
3. Central Consumer Protection Authority: The central government will set up
a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and
enforce the rights of consumers.
4. 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.
5. Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission: Consumer Disputes Redressal
Commissions (CDRCs) will be set up at the district, state, and national
levels.
6. 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.
7. 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.
Key Issues with the bill:-
1. The Bill specifies that the Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions will
be headed by a ‘President’ and will comprise other members. However, the
Bill delegates to the central government the power of deciding the
qualifications of the President and members. •If the Commissions were to
have only non-judicial members, it may violate the principle of separation
of powers.
2. Executive involvement in the appointment of Commissions may affect
judicial independence
3. Composition and role of the Consumer Protection Councils: It is unusual for
a body headed by a Minister or the District Collector (who are
implementing authorities) to be given an advisory role. Further, the Bill
does not specify whom the CPCs will render the advise to.
.
Why alternatives were rejected
Consumer Protection Act, 2019 comes into force which empowers and protects the right of
consumers through various notified rules and provisions. The Act replaced the Consumer
Protection Act, 1986.
A comparative difference between Old and New Consumer Protection Act
a) Regulatory
There was no separate regulatory provided in the Old Consumer Protection Act.
Central Consumer Protection Authority will form.
b) Jurisdiction for filing Complaint
Complaint could be filed in a consumer court where the seller’s office is located.
Complaint can be filed in a consumer court where the complainant resides or work.
c) Product Liability
In the earlier Act there were no provisions regarding the product liability. In the earlier Act
Consumer could approach to the Civil Court but not to the Consumer Court.
According to the New Consumer Protection Act, a consumer can seek for the compensation
for harm caused to him/her by a product or service.
d) Pecuniary Jurisdiction
Earlier:
District: Up-to 20 lacs
State: 20 lacs to 1 crore
National: More than 1
Crore
In the New Act:
District: Up-to 1 Crore
State: 1 Crore to 10 Crore
National: Above 10 Crore
e) Provisions for E-Commerce
There were no provisions regarding E-Commerce in the earlier Act.
Separate provisions are provided relating to E-Commerce.
f) Mediation Cell
In the earlier Act there were no separate provisions.
The Court/ Forum now can refer the matter for settlement by way of mediation.
Constraints/Reasons
Reason for the new Consumer Protection Act was passed by Parliament in 2019.
Need for the new act:
 The Digital Age has ushered in a new era of commerce and digital branding,
as well as a new set of customer expectations. Digitisation has provided
easy access, a large variety of choices, convenient payment mechanisms,
improved services and shopping as per convenience. However, there are
also associated challenges related to consumer protection.
 To help address the new set of challenges faced by consumers in the digital
age, the Indian Parliament passed the landmark Consumer Protection Bill,
2019 which aims to provide timely and effective administration and
settlement of consumer disputes.
Details:
 Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is a law to protect the interests of the
consumers. This Act provides safety to consumers regarding defective
products, dissatisfactory services, and unfair trade practices.
 The basic aim of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is to save the rights of
the consumers by establishing authorities for timely and effective
administration and settlement of consumers’ disputes.
Proposed Solution: -
Consumers often hesitate to enforce their rights for several reason: -
 AVIODING the cost of going to court
 A lack of time
 They don’t feel they have the same power as the other person they are dealing with.
1. Before you apply to a court, give the merchant one last chance to resolve the situation
by sending a formal demand letter.
2. When problem arises, you usually have 3 years to take legal actions.
3. When a large number of groups have a similar problem, a class action allows a single
consumer or organization to represent & defends all of them at a same time & in a single
lawsuit.
4. If amount at stake is lower, you can take legal actions against the merchant in small
claims court.
5. In some cases, you can sue the manufacturer, suppliers or distributor directly.
6. The consumers have the possibility to withdraw himself at any time unless he is satisfied
with the operation or a manner in which the procedure is conducted.
7. The consumer may appeal without being forced to independent advice or by the
representative of the consumers associations in any stages of the procedures.
Various steps are taken that are required to achieve the potential of the customers: -
 Seminars: Seminars are been conducted and even various talk shows are aired on TV and
radio. These focus on the issues being faced by the consumer and how the business firm are
neglecting the consumer interest and other such consumer affairs
 Print Media: Print Media has been utilized by making brochures, flyers,
and advertisements and through this medium, they educate the consumer about their rights
and responsibilities.
 Quality Test: Quality tests are being conducted by the organization after which they release
the result and educate the consumer with the quality of the product that consumers have been
using since ages. For instance, Maggi Noodles which was popular since ages and was
consumed in large numbers but then it turned out that it contained led which was harmful to
 Boycotting Goods: They bring consumer true results of quality of a product and hence ask
the consumer to boycott the unhealthy or defective product. This helps in
capturing media attention as well.
 Legal Assistance: These consumer bodies help the consumer by providing legal advice to
them or any aid required so that they know their rights and how they can fight against odds.
There are legal professionals who also offer their expertise pro-bono.
 Filing Complaints: They also act as a medium wherein they file a complaint, file petition in
the court of law on behalf of the consumer to help them in getting justice.
 Initiative in Public Interest: They also file case for general users rather than any individuals
& achieve justice.
 Protesting: They start a protest on various issues which could hamper a consumer and
those issues could be the adulteration of food, unnecessary rise in price,
underweight product sell, a damaged product sold etc.,
Recommendations:
EECCA governments need to ensure the protection of consumer rights and promote public
participation in the reform of the urban water sector in order to achieve two main
objectives: to ensure public and political support for the proposed reform (including price
increase), and to protect broad public interests from arbitrary decisions and abuse of
monopoly powers of water utilities, in the framework of a broader regulatory reform.
Main rights of the consumers as identified by the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection
includes:
 the protection of consumers from hazards to their health and safety;
 the promotion and protection of the economic interests of consumers;
 access of consumers to adequate information; consumer education;
 availability of effective consumer redress; freedom to form consumer groups and
the opportunity of such organizations to present their views in decision-making
processes;
• the promotion of sustainable consumption patterns.
The main approaches for the implementation of these rights include:
• Integration of appropriate norms in the national and local legal laws and
secondary legal acts.
• Ensuring a transparent and predictable state policy in urban water sector reform.
• Promotion of good practices among service providers.
• Information and education of consumers.
Civil society organizations, including public associations, non-governmental
organizations, associations of housing owners and consumer groups can play an active role
in protecting consumer rights and facilitating public participation in the sector reform.
Their activities should be acknowledged and supported.
Some important recommendations:
 Consumer protection in the area of electronic commerce, Associators should develop a
plan of action that addresses specific aspects of the digital economy, such as publicity,
payment methods and online dispute settlement. It should also continue to participate in
regulatory processes, to develop mechanisms to educate and raise awareness among
consumers and providers, to promote the auditing of electronic commerce operations and
to encourage online dispute settlement.
 To strengthen consumer associations, Law Associations should explore new funding
methods, such as competitive grant funds. Law Associations should also encourage
associations to conduct education campaigns and should train their staff in areas such as
communication, management and fundraising. Associations should convene a national
consumer congress to bring together the entire associative network, providers and public
institutions.
 To promote private sector participation, Law Associations, providers and the other
members of the National Integrated Consumer Protection System should continue to
support consumer trade watchdogs and methods of dispute settlement that do not involve
external mediation, promote self-regulatory and co-regulatory initiatives and develop and
monitor the voluntary compliance system. In particular, they should consider taking
special measures to promote a culture of consumer protection in the informal business
sector.
 Inter-agency cooperation on consumer protection in the area of financial services, Law
Associations and the Office of the Superintendent of Banking, Insurance and Private
Pension Fund Administrators should ensure mutual assistance in the performance of their
duties in accordance with the principles of the distribution of powers and sincere
cooperation.
 To strengthen inter-agency cooperation on consumer privacy and data protection, Law
Associations and the Ministry of Justice should coordinate the distribution of powers to
deal with complaints.
 Law Associations should improve its internal processes to maximize the impact of its
actions by bringing collective action before the courts, providing training on this issue to
its staff and consumer associations and prioritizing measures to combat consumer
discrimination, among other initiatives.
 Law of Consumer Associations and the other members of the National Integrated
Consumer Protection System should promote the amicable settlement of disputes and
their handling by the private sector, by making full use of existing means of dispute
resolution, such as conciliation, mediation and consumer arbitration. Providers should
also be encouraged to settle disputes without outside mediation.

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Marketing

  • 1. 1.Introduction Consumer protection refers to a set of laws and organisations that are designed to protect consumers' rights and interests. In 1986, the Consumer Protection Act was enacted, and separate Consumer Dispute Redressal Forums were established across India (in each and every district). The Consumer Protection Act of 1986 was enacted to better protect consumers' interests. The act was passed in the Lok Sabha on December 9, 1986, and the Rajya Sabha on December 10, 1986, and it was signed by the President of India on December 24, 1986. This act went into effect on April 15, 1987. Consumer Association A consumer association is a membership-based non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the interests of buyers of products and services by disseminating information and advocating for legislation to protect consumers from manufacturers and retailers who are either more organised or have more money. Citizens often form consumer groups because they recognise the following:  There is a need for an independent, non-political, and non-commercial group to voice the concerns that affect consumers in a market economy  There is a need for the under-represented, i.e., the inarticulate and disadvantaged, to have their voices heard in order to address the disparity in bargaining power, knowledge, and resources between consumers and businesses;  and consumer associations would be an effective avenue to collectively exercise the civil rights of disadvantaged/vulnerable communities/groups or those with disabilities. Intent  Consumers should be made aware of their rights.  consumers' interests are secured  Boost market awareness.  Brochures, articles, and monographs should all be written.  On behalf of customers, file lawsuits, appeals, and petitions.  Price rigging, adulteration, and black marketing are all items that must be stopped.  To keep an eye on commodity prices, quality and quantity, and the consistency of consumer goods.
  • 2. what roles do they perform? Internationally, there is no set agreement on how best to define a consumer association. In general, though, consumer associations - also known as consumer organizations or consumer groups4 - are non-governmental civil society organizations that represent consumers’ interests, while defending their rights in the marketplace. Although they are usually non-profit making, and largely independent from governments or businesses, they may be fully, or partially, financed by a government or other agencies. Today, the work and achievements of consumer associations in consumer protection are widely accepted, and they now represent consumers' interests in the following areas i. National constitutions ii. ii. Consumer protection statutes iii. iii. National consumer policy documents iv. iv. Consumer redress mechanisms such as consumer courts and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms v. v. Industry mediation bodies vi. vi. Industry regulatory processes vii. vii. Codes of practice viii. viii. National-level government-sponsored committees. National and local Level – Actions Consumer organisations at national and local levels have undertaken a wide range of actions that draw on their well-honed skills in independent research, advocacy, testing and publishing. Most of these actions involve: -  educating consumers with a view to changing their attitudes and behaviour.  providing consumers with timely information about popular products and services.  monitoring and exposing misleading "claims" by product manufacturers and advertisers, and helping governments draw up codes of practice, laws and regulations that outlaw them.  researching "labelling" schemes to help consumers identify ethical and "green" products.  conducting campaigns in response to specific consumer-related problems.  advocating for the interests of consumers at relevant national, regional, and international fora; and  networking and cooperating with other NGOs on consumer issues of shared concern and interest.
  • 3. CASE STATISTICS RELEASED FOR THE YEAR 2017 The Association had received a total of 15,744 complaints for the year 2017. Out of 15,744 complaints, CASE has taken up 2,253 cases in the year 2017. PERCENTAGE BREAKDOWN OF COMPLAINTS The chart below shows the percentage breakdown of complaints CASE MEDIATION Since the inception of our mediation centre in 1999 and as part of its process, CASE has arranged for mediation between disputed parties.
  • 4. There were 133 cases resolved in the year 2016. This accounts to a 70.74% resolve rate. CONSUMER PROTECTION (FAIR TRADING) ACT 2003 ("THE ACT") This Act provides the legislative framework to allow consumers aggrieved by unfair practices to have recourse to civil remedies before the courts. It also provides for a cooling-off period for direct sales and timeshare contracts, and allows specified bodies to enter voluntary compliance agreements with, or apply for injunction orders against errant traders - Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore. On doing a year to year comparison, the number reported breaches of the Act by consumer are as presented in Table 2 below: Disputes received under the Act (Filed) Year Disputes received under the Act 2016 978 2017 978 The Top 3 industries, whose business practices or products are reportedly suppose to have breached the Act, are presented in Table 3: Top 3 industries that have been breaching the Act in 2017 (Filed) Ranking Industry
  • 5. 1 Motorcars 2 Electrical and Electronics 3 Beauty Top 3 industries that have been breaching the Act in 2017 (Assisted) Ranking Industry 1 Motorcars 2 Contractors 3 Furniture VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE AGREEMENT ("VCA") / INJUNCTION Voluntary Compliance Agreement is a voluntary document signed by a business whereby the business admits to committing unfair practices under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act and promised not to commit further unfair practices. Should the business commits further unfair practices, CASE may take out an injunction/declaration proceedings against the business. Injunction proceeding is to stop the business from further carrying out the unfair business practices. Table 4 below presents the number of VCAs that have been voluntarily signed by businesses since 1 March 2004 to 31 December 2016. Table 5 presents the injunction/declaration proceedings that have been taken against the businesses in the same period. VCAs that have been voluntarily signed by businesses (1 March 2004 - 31 December 2017) Total Consolidated VCA and Undertakings 21 Injunction/Declaration Proceedings that have been taken out against businesses (1 March 2004 - 31 December 2017) Total
  • 6. Injunction/Declaration Proceedings 6 List of companies that CASE have taken out Injunction / Declaration Proceedings  Orion’s Belt Network Pte Ltd  Global Europe (Asia) Pte Ltd  Naughty by Nature Pte Ltd  Garraway Enterprises Limited Singapore Branch  Concord Developments Pte Ltd  Mr Chiok Wee Juo Trading as Olena, Bez Gallery and The Exquisite Promenade Pending Declaration/Injunction Proceedings as of 31 Dec 2017 Total Pending Declaration/Injunction Proceedings 0
  • 7. Alternatives Possible Alternatives Recently Parliament passed new Consumer Protection Bill 2019 which will replace earlier Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Some of the key Provisions: 1. Definition of consumer: 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 including offline, and online 2. Rights of consumers: Six consumer rights have been defined in the Bill, including the right to: (i) be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property; (ii) be informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services; (iii) be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive prices; and (iv) seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices. 3. Central Consumer Protection Authority: The central government will set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers. 4. 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. 5. Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission: Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (CDRCs) will be set up at the district, state, and national levels. 6. 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. 7. 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. Key Issues with the bill:- 1. The Bill specifies that the Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions will be headed by a ‘President’ and will comprise other members. However, the Bill delegates to the central government the power of deciding the qualifications of the President and members. •If the Commissions were to have only non-judicial members, it may violate the principle of separation of powers. 2. Executive involvement in the appointment of Commissions may affect judicial independence 3. Composition and role of the Consumer Protection Councils: It is unusual for a body headed by a Minister or the District Collector (who are implementing authorities) to be given an advisory role. Further, the Bill does not specify whom the CPCs will render the advise to.
  • 8. . Why alternatives were rejected Consumer Protection Act, 2019 comes into force which empowers and protects the right of consumers through various notified rules and provisions. The Act replaced the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. A comparative difference between Old and New Consumer Protection Act a) Regulatory There was no separate regulatory provided in the Old Consumer Protection Act. Central Consumer Protection Authority will form. b) Jurisdiction for filing Complaint Complaint could be filed in a consumer court where the seller’s office is located. Complaint can be filed in a consumer court where the complainant resides or work.
  • 9. c) Product Liability In the earlier Act there were no provisions regarding the product liability. In the earlier Act Consumer could approach to the Civil Court but not to the Consumer Court. According to the New Consumer Protection Act, a consumer can seek for the compensation for harm caused to him/her by a product or service. d) Pecuniary Jurisdiction Earlier: District: Up-to 20 lacs State: 20 lacs to 1 crore National: More than 1 Crore In the New Act: District: Up-to 1 Crore State: 1 Crore to 10 Crore National: Above 10 Crore e) Provisions for E-Commerce There were no provisions regarding E-Commerce in the earlier Act. Separate provisions are provided relating to E-Commerce. f) Mediation Cell In the earlier Act there were no separate provisions. The Court/ Forum now can refer the matter for settlement by way of mediation. Constraints/Reasons Reason for the new Consumer Protection Act was passed by Parliament in 2019. Need for the new act:  The Digital Age has ushered in a new era of commerce and digital branding, as well as a new set of customer expectations. Digitisation has provided easy access, a large variety of choices, convenient payment mechanisms, improved services and shopping as per convenience. However, there are also associated challenges related to consumer protection.  To help address the new set of challenges faced by consumers in the digital age, the Indian Parliament passed the landmark Consumer Protection Bill,
  • 10. 2019 which aims to provide timely and effective administration and settlement of consumer disputes. Details:  Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is a law to protect the interests of the consumers. This Act provides safety to consumers regarding defective products, dissatisfactory services, and unfair trade practices.  The basic aim of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is to save the rights of the consumers by establishing authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers’ disputes.
  • 11. Proposed Solution: - Consumers often hesitate to enforce their rights for several reason: -  AVIODING the cost of going to court  A lack of time  They don’t feel they have the same power as the other person they are dealing with. 1. Before you apply to a court, give the merchant one last chance to resolve the situation by sending a formal demand letter. 2. When problem arises, you usually have 3 years to take legal actions. 3. When a large number of groups have a similar problem, a class action allows a single consumer or organization to represent & defends all of them at a same time & in a single lawsuit. 4. If amount at stake is lower, you can take legal actions against the merchant in small claims court. 5. In some cases, you can sue the manufacturer, suppliers or distributor directly. 6. The consumers have the possibility to withdraw himself at any time unless he is satisfied with the operation or a manner in which the procedure is conducted. 7. The consumer may appeal without being forced to independent advice or by the representative of the consumers associations in any stages of the procedures. Various steps are taken that are required to achieve the potential of the customers: -  Seminars: Seminars are been conducted and even various talk shows are aired on TV and radio. These focus on the issues being faced by the consumer and how the business firm are neglecting the consumer interest and other such consumer affairs  Print Media: Print Media has been utilized by making brochures, flyers, and advertisements and through this medium, they educate the consumer about their rights and responsibilities.  Quality Test: Quality tests are being conducted by the organization after which they release the result and educate the consumer with the quality of the product that consumers have been using since ages. For instance, Maggi Noodles which was popular since ages and was consumed in large numbers but then it turned out that it contained led which was harmful to  Boycotting Goods: They bring consumer true results of quality of a product and hence ask the consumer to boycott the unhealthy or defective product. This helps in capturing media attention as well.  Legal Assistance: These consumer bodies help the consumer by providing legal advice to them or any aid required so that they know their rights and how they can fight against odds. There are legal professionals who also offer their expertise pro-bono.
  • 12.  Filing Complaints: They also act as a medium wherein they file a complaint, file petition in the court of law on behalf of the consumer to help them in getting justice.  Initiative in Public Interest: They also file case for general users rather than any individuals & achieve justice.  Protesting: They start a protest on various issues which could hamper a consumer and those issues could be the adulteration of food, unnecessary rise in price, underweight product sell, a damaged product sold etc.,
  • 13. Recommendations: EECCA governments need to ensure the protection of consumer rights and promote public participation in the reform of the urban water sector in order to achieve two main objectives: to ensure public and political support for the proposed reform (including price increase), and to protect broad public interests from arbitrary decisions and abuse of monopoly powers of water utilities, in the framework of a broader regulatory reform. Main rights of the consumers as identified by the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection includes:  the protection of consumers from hazards to their health and safety;  the promotion and protection of the economic interests of consumers;  access of consumers to adequate information; consumer education;  availability of effective consumer redress; freedom to form consumer groups and the opportunity of such organizations to present their views in decision-making processes; • the promotion of sustainable consumption patterns. The main approaches for the implementation of these rights include: • Integration of appropriate norms in the national and local legal laws and secondary legal acts. • Ensuring a transparent and predictable state policy in urban water sector reform. • Promotion of good practices among service providers. • Information and education of consumers. Civil society organizations, including public associations, non-governmental organizations, associations of housing owners and consumer groups can play an active role in protecting consumer rights and facilitating public participation in the sector reform. Their activities should be acknowledged and supported. Some important recommendations:  Consumer protection in the area of electronic commerce, Associators should develop a plan of action that addresses specific aspects of the digital economy, such as publicity, payment methods and online dispute settlement. It should also continue to participate in regulatory processes, to develop mechanisms to educate and raise awareness among consumers and providers, to promote the auditing of electronic commerce operations and to encourage online dispute settlement.  To strengthen consumer associations, Law Associations should explore new funding methods, such as competitive grant funds. Law Associations should also encourage associations to conduct education campaigns and should train their staff in areas such as communication, management and fundraising. Associations should convene a national
  • 14. consumer congress to bring together the entire associative network, providers and public institutions.  To promote private sector participation, Law Associations, providers and the other members of the National Integrated Consumer Protection System should continue to support consumer trade watchdogs and methods of dispute settlement that do not involve external mediation, promote self-regulatory and co-regulatory initiatives and develop and monitor the voluntary compliance system. In particular, they should consider taking special measures to promote a culture of consumer protection in the informal business sector.  Inter-agency cooperation on consumer protection in the area of financial services, Law Associations and the Office of the Superintendent of Banking, Insurance and Private Pension Fund Administrators should ensure mutual assistance in the performance of their duties in accordance with the principles of the distribution of powers and sincere cooperation.  To strengthen inter-agency cooperation on consumer privacy and data protection, Law Associations and the Ministry of Justice should coordinate the distribution of powers to deal with complaints.  Law Associations should improve its internal processes to maximize the impact of its actions by bringing collective action before the courts, providing training on this issue to its staff and consumer associations and prioritizing measures to combat consumer discrimination, among other initiatives.  Law of Consumer Associations and the other members of the National Integrated Consumer Protection System should promote the amicable settlement of disputes and their handling by the private sector, by making full use of existing means of dispute resolution, such as conciliation, mediation and consumer arbitration. Providers should also be encouraged to settle disputes without outside mediation.