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Consumer Protection Act – 1986

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  • Last Updated : 28 Apr, 2022

Every person is a consumer of products and services who expects a fair bargain in order to avoid being exploited. The Indian Parliament established the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 to safeguard customer rights, remedy consumer complaints, and resolve consumer disputes. It safeguards customers against deceptive or deceptive trade practices. This Consumer Protection Act covers all goods and services acquired by consumers in all sectors like private, public, and cooperative and applies across India except in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. It’s worth noting that the Indian Consumer Protection Act is a social welfare law that was created to eliminate technicalities, procedural delays, procedural requirements, court fees, and charges.

Consumer Protection Act – 1986 

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (COPRA) was a Parliament of India Act created to defend the interests of Indian consumers. It was repealed in 2019 by the Consumer Protection Act,2019. The measure was voted by the Assembly in October 1986 and took effect on December 24, 1986. The right statute was enacted prior to the COPRA act. It was created to establish consumer councils and other bodies for the resolution of consumer disputes and related topics.

The consumer movement originated in the 1960s and grew in popularity in the 1970s. Consumer displeasure began to be expressed through the written word, such as blogs and newspapers. Until the 1960s, India was troubled by black market manipulation, hoarding, poor weighing, and even food adulteration. These were issues that harmed the consumer’s well-being and amounted to consumer exploitation. Consumers raised their voices in response to their displeasure with merchants and manufacturers and their methods. The Act’s goal was to safeguard consumers’ rights while also preserving free commerce in the market, competition, and accurate information. This is now known as National Consumers’ Day.

Consumer Rights 

Consumers are granted particular rights and duties that they can exercise and must follow on a regular basis, according to the Consumer Protection Act definition.  A thorough awareness of the rights granted to consumers under the COPRA Act of 1986 will aid in the development of a better understanding of which complaints will be handled and which will not. The elements listed below make up a list of consumer rights guaranteed under the COPRA Act: 

  1. Right to Consumer Education: Users must be aware of their rights in order to prevent being taken advantage of. The right to acquire the information and skills necessary to be a well-informed consumer throughout one’s life. Consumer ignorance, particularly among rural customers, is mostly responsible for their exploitation. 
  2. Right to Seek Compensation: They have the right to seek monetary or other forms of compensation in response to complaints they bring alleging unethical marketing practices. Right to seek remedies against unfair consumer exploitation or illicit commercial methods. It also covers the right to a reasonable and equitable settlement of a consumer’s legitimate complaints. They should be well-informed about their rights as well as able to control them.
  3. Right to be Heard: One of the rights guaranteed to customers by the Consumer Protection Act is the right to be heard. They should be heard in a forum about their concerns or feedback on the goods or services they have received. Customers’ concerns should be understood by the vendor, according to this right. It also gives them the opportunity to be heard prior to the sessions and consumer reviews. 
  4. Right to be Informed: Before making a purchase, they should be aware of product facts. This is an act to provide for the organizational modifications of the Right to Information for people to obtain data under the control of public jurisdictions, in order to establish clarity as well as responsibility in the operation of every public authority, the establishment of a centralized Committee, and the establishment of a State Information.
  5. Right to Choose: Consumers should be able to select from a variety of possibilities and purchase only when they find one that meets their needs.
  6. Right to safety: They have the right to seek quality assurance on any product or service they buy. Consumers have the right to be protected from products and services that endanger their health, lives, or property. Electrical equipment lacking the ISI mark, for example, can cause significant harm. When introducing iron into the market, the applications of iron should be addressed.

Consumer Responsibility

  • Responsibility to complain – It is the consumer’s responsibility to voice and register an honest and fair complaint about their discontent with goods or services.
  • Responsibility to be aware – Consumers have a responsibility to be informed of the safety and quality of products and services before acquiring them.
  • Responsibility to think independently – Consumers should be concerned about what they want and need and should be able to make autonomous decisions as a result.
  • Responsibility to speak up – Buyers should not be scared to vent their grievances and express their desires to merchants.
  • Ethical Consumer Responsibilities- They should be honest and not engage in any misleading practices.

Sample Questions 

Question 1: What actually is the Consumer Protection Act of 1986? Mention its benefits to customers.

Answer:

The Consumer Protection Act of 1986 was created by the Indian government in order to safeguard consumers against market abuse. The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (COPRA) was a Parliament of India Act created to defend the interests of Indian consumers. It was repealed in 2019 by the Consumer Protection Act. The measure was voted by the Assembly in October 1986 and took effect on December 24, 1986. The right statute was enacted prior to the COPRA act. It was created to establish consumer councils and other bodies for the resolution of consumer disputes and related topics.

Consumers benefit from the Consumer Protection Act because:

  • It prevents customers from being taken advantage of in the marketplace.
  •  Consumers were given various consumer rights to utilize on the market.
  • If consumers are defrauded in the marketplace, they have the right to submit a complaint in a consumer court, based on the extent of the harm.

Question 2: Explain the significance of the Right to Information Act using an example.

Answer:

The RTI Act, also known as the Right to Information Act, was passed in October 2005 and offers citizens the right to be informed about the activities of government departments. This is an act to provide for the organizational modifications of the Right to Information for people to obtain data under the control of public jurisdictions, in order to establish clarity as well as responsibility in the operation of every public authority, the establishment of a centralized Committee, and the establishment of a State Information.

Previously, we had no way of knowing what was going on at the government department. It is our right as citizens of the country to know what the government is doing with the people’s wellbeing. However, after the passage of the Right to Information Act, we now have the ability to learn about the activities of government agencies.

Question 3: Why is it so important for consumers to be aware of their options? Any five reasons should be explained.

Answer:

Yes, it is true that the recent move could only be effective if consumers actively participate. The consumer movement will not be successful just by enacting numerous consumer-related laws. To help the consumer movement succeed, consumers may do the following:

  •  People should be aware consumers. They must be aware of their rights and responsibilities in the marketplace.
  • Consumers should be aware of unethical business practices.
  • After every purchase at the market, customers should take cash notes.
  • Before making any purchase, consumers should examine the product’s quality using the logos on the goods.
  • Consumers who are misused in the market by any merchant shall file a complaint with the consumer court.
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