For most of us who love shopping, it is essential to understand the meaning of the word ‘Consumer.’ Simply put, a consumer is a person who buys a good or service for their use. But in the modern world, one may have experienced many cases of consumer exploitation. That includes wrong information, adulteration, soaring prices, defective products, the wrong weight, and so on. Consumers are an essential part of the growth of business and the economy.
Consumer protection laws aim to hold the quality of services & products and protect consumer interests to help them make desired results. Given the rapid global changes in industry and trade, the Consumer Protection Act 1986 was made with a new comprehensive law that came into force in 2020 and new rules and laws.
Nowadays, everyone is getting adequate education about consumer rights after each passing day. It is done to avoid the exploitation of consumers by unfair marketing practices. The organization has to prioritize the customer's interest so that they will not get exploited or tricked. To avoid these exploitations in the process of purchasing & selling, the need to have consumer protection laws comes into action.
This article will discuss a thorough study of consumer rights, along with the laws guarding these rights.
Consumer Rights: Meaning
Consumer rights are usually a reference to a body of law about what the manufacturer of goods should do to save the customers from any wrong malpractice. It means the right to be informed about the purity, potency, quality, quantity, standard, and price of products to save the consumer against unfair business practices. A consumer should insist on getting every information about the product & service before making a choice or a decision.
As consumer exploitation in the market continued, a popular movement started within the country in the 1960s to help the consumer from exploitation. It took a strict shape in the upcoming years, posting numerous articles and protests. After that, in the year 1986, the ‘Consumer Protection Act’ was passed by the Indian Government. It helped make the National Consumer Protection forums that help consumers understand their rights.
Need for the Consumer Protection Act
The main objective of the Consumer Protection Act is to give better consumer protection and make a robust system for settling consumer conflicts. The Consumer Protection Act aims the right to:
- Protect the consumer against the trade of goods that are dangerous to life and property.
- Brief about the purity, quality, quantity, potency, standard, and price of goods to save the consumer from any unfair marketing practices.
- Ensure key to an officer of goods at multiple prices (wherever possible)
- Listen and ensure that consumers' interests will obtain due regard at appropriate forums.
- Seek amendment against unjust marketing rules or unethical exploitation of buyers;
- To make the consumer understand their right.
Laws Protecting Consumer Rights in India
To protect the consumers legally, the consumer court has stated certain laws to secure the consumer against exploitation. These laws keep intact the right of the consumer, which, when acted, will give them justice against any problems created by the seller. A consumer court has created many laws that are maintained strictly for the protection of consumers. Following are some of the consumer protection laws:
1. The Consumer Protection Act of 1986:
The Consumer Protection Act, executed in 1986, gives easy and fast settlement for consumer grudges This law provides for the protection of consumers from unfair trade practices and provides for the establishment of consumer forums and redressal agencies for the settlement of consumer disputes. If vendors and producers make any illicit trade, then the Consumer Protection act protects their rights as a consumer. The primary cause of this forum is to grant aid to both parties and remove long cases.
The Consumer Protection Act protects all goods and services of all private, public, or joint sectors, except those exempted by the government. The Consumer Protection Act lets a consumer file a complaint against the tactics, and the forum takes action. Settlement is given to the consumer for the problems they have faced. Consumer Protection Officers were divided into
- District Consumer Protection Councils.
- State Consumer Protection Councils
- Central Consumer Protection Council
All these rights, liabilities, jurisdiction, and penalties are stated in chapters II and III of the Consumer act.
2. The Sale of Goods Act of 1930:
Every business sells and purchases goods & services as part of its trade. People in the drive usually enter into a contract of sale to market their things. All these sales are handled by the Sale of Goods Act 1930, which is one of the most significant kinds of law under consumer Rights in India. This law controls the sale of goods and provides for the rights of consumers concerning goods bought.
The Sale of Goods Act controls the quality of specific goods purchased & sold. The Act brings all the previous legislation together, along with the Sale of Goods Act 1893. Multiple statutory changes and additions have been made to this Act since 1979.
3. The Essential Commodities Act of 1955:
The Parliament of India passes the Essential Commodities Act. This law regulates the production, supply, and distribution of essential goods & services and provides for consumers' rights concerning these goods & services. It ensures the delivery of specific products or things, the supply of which, if blocked due to black marketing or hoarding, would affect people's everyday lives. It includes food items, medicines, petrol (or any other fuel), and so on.
The Essential commodity Act came into force in 1955 and has been used by the government to manufacture, supply, and allocate lots of things that it states are 'vital' to make them known to buyers at fair prices. This Act was revised by the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act in 2020.
4. The Bureau of Indian Standards Act of 1986:
The Bureau of Indian Standards Act of 1986 is the National Body of India. This law sets a bureau to create and enforce norms for goods and services to save the rights of consumers. It is liable for the balanced growth of the standardization, marking, and quality certificate of goods and for matters related in addition to that or random.
Its core standardization and unity check activities have benefited the national economy by giving safe, reliable, and quality goods; reducing health risks to consumers; saving the environment. The act also supports various public policies, mainly in product safety, environment protection, consumer protection, building and construction, food safety, etc.
In recent years, The Bureau of Indian Standards Act has worked to handle diverse national priorities and other industries of the government, such as Digital India and Swacch Bharat Abhiyan. They continue to address technical advances, climate change, environment and energy saving, health and safety needs, and trades.
5. The Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006:
The Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 (FSSAI) regulates the production, distribution, and sale of food products to protect the health and safety of consumers. The following acts were being used to handle food safety before the enactment of FSSAI:
- Meat Food Products Order, 1973
- Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
- Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
- Vegetable Oil Products (Control) Order, 1947
The government also implemented a few more acts before the FSSAI Act 2006. But FSSAI ends those acts by combining all the terms and conditions of the acts mentioned above. As mentioned in the FSSAI Act, the following are the main aim of the FDDAI act:
a) Creating a single law to regulate food safety.
b) To create and set the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India
c) Deliver scientifically tested safe means of food
d) Ensure that the product consumed by the customer is safe without any hazardous material.
e) To create tools that can handle the food industry efficiently.
6. The Competition Act of 2002:
The Competition Act of 2002 was passed by the Parliament of India and managed Indian competition law. This law prohibits anti-competitive practices and promotes fair competition to protect the rights of consumers. The competition Act 2002 act is extended to the whole of India. Competition law involves equal oral and written agreements and agreements between a person or an enterprise.
The Competition Act 2002 was changed by the Competition Act 2007, and one more modification has been made by the Amendment in the Competition Act 2009.
The two main objectives of this act are to give the framework it provides for the structure of the Competition Commission and the tools it provides to prevent anti-competitive rules and to give positive contest in the Indian market.
7. The Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act of 1937:
The Agricultural Produce act of 1937 law holds the grading and labeling of the agricultural crop to save consumers' rights by giving them accurate information about the quality of the crop. The Act grades 80 primary things for export and interior consumption and defines needs relating to packaging and selling the products.
The Act also states the fines concerning marking the wrong practices. The mark of quality given as per the Act is AGMARK, an initialism for Agriculture Marketing. The AGMARK acts as a 3rd party guarantee for crops consumed in India. The quality of an agricultural entity depends on its inherent merit. These actions are created after understanding the global laws and specifications to comply with the World Trade Organization's needs.
8. The Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940:
The Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1940 was passed by the health sector as per the Ministry of Family and Health Welfare after obtaining the approval of the Governor General on 10th April 1940 and starting working on 1st April 1947. This law controls the import, production, allocation, and sale of cosmetics and drugs to save the safety and health of the consumer. The prime goal of the Act is to secure that the biosimilars, medicines, and drugs sold in India are efficient, effective, conform, and safe, to say quality bars.
The government of India shows the Rules via the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940. The Rules have also been changed from time to time to meet the requirements of the time and to correct any defects caught during the execution:
a) The Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945.
b) The New Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 2019
9. The Standards of Weights and Measures Act of 1976:
The Standard of Weights and Measures Act of 1976 was passed to set norms of weights and measures, to control inter-state business or trade in measurements, weights, and other goods which are sold or spread by weight, action, or number, and to give the cases related to it or random to it. The Act expands to the whole of India.
This law gives the bars of weights and measures used in trade and commerce to save customers' rights by securing accurate data about the number of purchased goods.
The Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 1977, order the factories/ producers to show the required order of the necessary data on the packaged things to secure the interest of customers and ensure the availability of the said quantity of the things that come in a package. The Act also states to give certain essential words on imported packets, similar to those for indigenous parcels. Yet, the rules are being studied to make them more apparent and evident.
10. Indian Contract Act, 1972
Indian trademark law statutorily saves consumers from false marks, which could fool them into getting the product and thus cheat on them by serving less suitable products. The Controller General of Patents makes statutory protection of trademarks, Designs, and Trade Marks. According to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, this government agent says to the DIPP.
The Indian trademark law works with the means of rolling, saving brands, and controlling false brands to save consumers from fake tactics.
The law also provides for the rights obtained by registering a trademark, modes of transfer and work of the rights, nature of violations, fines for such breaches, and cures known to the owner for the breach.
From defective products to soaring high prices, consumers are at the mercy of vendors and producers who usually put profit before consumers. And it is needed to be changed. One can help improve the protection of the consumer in India by increasing understanding of buyers' rights and standing up against the producers or manufacturers who do these wrong tactics. One can also support institutions that work to aim to protect the consumers. Our expert team at Rest the Case can help you file a legal notice with relief if you feel that your consumer rights have been infringed by an organization, manufacturer, or business entity. Feel free to text us today! You can contact us at +919284293610 or email us at email@example.com.
What are the problems faced by consumer protection in India?
We usually hear about numerous frauds that have been striking the headlines recently. And it's not just fraud that a buyer needs to stress about. From wrong products to soaring high prices, there is no end to how the consumer's rights can be broken. But there is something worse than that. When it comes to consumer protection, the existing laws are obsolete as they don't do enough to save them from wrong malpractice. There is a deep need for changes in these laws if we want to ensure that consumers are treated equitably.
As a Consumer, how can a person ensure that their rights are not violated?
The prime step to protecting a person's rights as a consumer is to get an understanding of the matter. It is quite essential for a consumer to be mindful to know their rights and how to use them. It will help a person stay on their defense and give them a sense of relief that they have the power to exercise their rights if anything goes wrong.
What is the role of the Government in saving the Consumer from false malpractice?
The following are some roles of the Government in saving the Consumers:
a) The bill has been made to set the Consumer Protection power, which studies consumer protests.
b) The government bill shows the type of contract inequity so that they can solve them fairly.
c) The Government raised bills that execute consumer rights, giving a mechanism for handling fusses about faulty goods and services.
d) Consumer conflict-solving forums are created at the district, state, and national levels that help buyers solve their grudges.
To whom do the consumer protection laws apply?
Following are the person or entities who apply to the consumer protection act.
- Product Manufacturers
- Advertising Companies
- Service Provider
- E-commerce market (that is, e-commerce entities)
- E-commerce sellers
Who is a consumer as per the Consumer Protection Act?
Consumer, according to the consumer protection act, means a person who buys any goods or services for consideration, either offline or online. Or a person who uses goods or services which any other person purchased.