Basic Provisions of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) 1986

The Consumer Protection Act 1986 was passed by the Indian Parliament to protect consumer rights and to redress consumer complaints and resolve consumer disputes.

Every individual is a consumer of goods and services and expects a fair deal against unfair exploitation.

This Consumer Protection Act applies to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir and covers all goods and services purchased by the consumers and to all sectors — private, public and cooperative. The objective of the Act is “to provide for better protection of the interests of consumers and for that purpose to make provisions for the establishment of Consumer Councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumer disputes and for matters connected therewith”. It protects the consumers from unfair trading or unfair trade practices.

It is important to note that the Indian Consumer Protection Act is a social welfare legislation and has been designed to avoid technicalities, procedural delays, procedural requirement, court fees and costs.

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides for the following rights to the consumers:

(a) Right to be heard and to be assured that consumers’ interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forum;

(b) Right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers; and

(c) Right to consumer education.

The Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act 1993 adds the following consumer rights:

(d) The right to be assured wherever possible, access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices;

(e) The right to be informed about the quality, potency, purity, standard and price of goods (or services as the case may be) so as to protect the consumers against unfair trade practices; and

(f) The right to be protected against the marketing of goods (and services) which are hazardous to life and property.

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