Concepts and definitions - Consumer Protection Act, 1986
Concepts and definitions
The complainant has suffered loss or damageas a result of any unfair trade practice adoptedby any trader or service provider; The goods mentioned in the complaint sufferfrom one or more defects; The services hired or availed suffer fromdeficiency in any respect;
The trader or service provider has charged for thegoods or for the service a price in excess of theprice – (a) fixed by or under any law for the time being in force (b) displayed on the goods or any package containingsuch goods ; (c) displayed on the price list exhibited by him by orunder any law for the time being in force; (d) agreed between the parties; The goods or services which will be hazardous tolife and safety when used are being offered for saleto public.
A consumer is a person who buys or hires andgoods or services for a consideration, i.e. freeservices are not covered under the Act. It excludes a person who buys or hires forcommercial purpose/activity and not for self-consumption. Therefore, you are a consumer, if you have paidfor anything for self consumption, and not hired orpurchased for selling it further or to be deployedin a commercial activity on a large scale, as washeld in Laxmi Engineering Works vs. P.S.G. IndustrialInstitute on 4 April, 1995
Commercial purpose encompasses all businessactivities. It means occupied with commerce. All such cases where goods are purchased forbeing used in any activity directly to generateprofit will come under the purview ofcommercial purpose. E.g.- Purchase of printing machine for commercialpurpose, purchase of taxi for commercialpurpose, purchase of machine in a plant orfactory etc.
Exceptions:If the goods are used by the buyer himselfexclusively for purpose of self-employment orearning his livelihood then same will not comeunder the purview of commercial purpose.e.g. A purchase of truck as public carrier forself employment; A starts a small PCO shop toearn his livelihood etc.
Defect mean lack or absence of somethingessential for completeness. So if there is any shortage in the quality ofgoods, it amounts to defect in goods.e.g. TV set purchased developed with blackspots on its picture tube; gas cylinder withexcessive gas etc.
Deficiency means any fault, imperfection,shortcoming or inade-quacy in the quality,nature and manner of performance which isrequired to be maintained by or has beenundertaken to be performed by a person inpursuance of a contract or otherwise in relationto any service.Hence, deficiency refers to the service anddefect refers to any goods.
We have read deficiency, now lets read services:"service" means service of any description which ismade avail-able to potential users and includes,the provision of facilities in connection with- banking,- financing insurance,- transport,- processing,- supply of electrical or other energy,
- board or lodging or both,- housing construction,- entertainment, amusement or the purveyingof news or other information,but does not include the rendering of anyservice free of charge or under a contract ofpersonal service.
So services means services made available topotential users that is not only to actual usersbit also the those who are capable of using it; It should not be free of charge; It should not be under a contract of personalservice.Hence deficiency as explained earlier inmentioned services amount to deficiency inservices under the Act.
Any trade practice which for the purpose ofpromoting the sale, use or supply of any goodsor for provision of any services, adopts anyunfair or deceptive practice including any ofthe following practices:- falsely representing the goods as conformingto a particular standard, quality, quantity,potency, purity;- falsely representing the services are of aparticular standard, quality or grade;
- falsely representing any re-built, second hand,renovated, reconditioned or old goods as newgoods;- falsely representing that the goods or serviceshave a certain sponsorship or approval oraffiliation, characteristics, accessories, use orbenefits;
- misleading representation concerning theneed for, or the usefulness of any goods orservices;- giving any warranty or guarantee of theperformance of efficacy of the product withoutany proper test thereof.