In general terms, a consumer is understood as an individual who consumes a product. Whereas the term ‘consumer’ stated under the Consumer Protection Act is comprehensive as it covers not only the consumer of goods, but the consumer of services also.
Consumer of Goods
Consumer of goods consists of an individual who purchases goods for consideration. The consideration, in this case, has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised or is under a system of deferred payment. For example, if Sukant purchases a house in cash or under a deferred payment system, then he will be considered a consumer.
If a good is not purchased by an individual but is being used with the permission or approval of the buyer, then he/she will also be a consumer. For example, Sara will be considered a consumer if she uses her friend’s laptop with her approval. A consumer of goods does not include a person who buys a good with the purpose of resale or for any commercial purpose.
Consumer of Services
Consumer of services consists of an individual who avails or hires a service for consideration. The consideration, in this case, has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised or is under a system of deferred payment. For example, Akanksha will be a consumer if he/she hires a cab from Uber to go someplace.
If a service is not used by the person who hires it, but by someone else with the permission or approval of the former, then he/she will also be a consumer. For example, in the previous example, if Akanksha hires a cab from Uber for her friend, then in this case Akanksha’s friend will be considered a consumer. A consumer of services does not include a person who avails or hires a service for commercial purposes.
Commercial Purpose: The above two cases do not consist of the use of goods and services for earning livelihood by means of self-employment. For example, if Sayeba purchases a computer to earn her livelihood by doing her job from home, then she will be considered a consumer.
According to the Consumer Protection Act 2019, a Consumer is a person who buys any goods or avails any services for a consideration, which has been paid or promised to pay, or partly paid or partly promised, or under any scheme of deferred payment. A consumer also includes a person who is using the goods or beneficiary of service with the approval of the buyer and applies to both online and offline transactions through electronic means of teleshopping or direct selling or multilevel marketing.
Who can file a Complaint and Against Whom?
According to Consumer Protection Act 2019, any one of the following can file a complaint:
1. Any consumer can file a complaint.
2. The state government or central government can file a complaint.
3. If a consumer is a minor, then his/her parents or legal guardians can file a complaint.
4. If the consumer dies, then his/her legal representative or legal heir can file a complaint.
5. Any voluntary consumer association, which is registered under any law can file a complaint.
6. If a number of consumers have the same interests, then more than one consumer can file a complaint.
Against Whom a Complaint can be Filed
1. If the defective goods are supplied to the consumer, then he/she can file a complaint against the seller or dealer, or manufacturer. Defect here means any shortcoming, imperfection, or fault in the quantity, purity, or quality of the goods.
2. If the services rendered to the consumer have a deficiency, then he/she can file a complaint against the service provider. Deficiency here means any inadequacy, shortcoming, or imperfection in the nature, quality, and manner of performance of the services.
Who are not considered consumers under Consumer Protection Act 2019?
According to the Consumer Protection Act 2019, the individuals who are not considered consumers are as follows:
1. The person who hires or avails any service without consideration.
2. The person who obtains goods for resale.
3. The person who obtains goods without any consideration.
4. The person who uses the goods without the buyer’s approval.
5. The person who avails services without the hirer’s approval.
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