The Consumer Protection act, 2019 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 8 July 2019 by the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan. It was passed by Lok Sabha on 30 July 2019 and later passed in Rajya Sabha on 6 August 2019.
As per Section 2(7) of the 2019 Act, consumer is any person who buys goods or avails any service for a consideration and includes any user except for the person who has availed such services or goods for the purpose of resale or commercial use. The explanation to the definition specifically states that the expression “buys any goods” and “hires or avails any services” includes all online transactions conducted through electronic means or direct selling or teleshopping or multi-level marketing. Online transactions is an exclusive feature of this act and added keeping in mind the growing e-commerce business and advancement in technology.
The bill received assent from President Ram Nath Kovind on 9 August, and was notified in The Gazette of India on the same date. The Act came into effect by 20 July 2020, while certain other provisions of the Act like establishing the Central Consumer Protection Authority came into effect from 24 July 2020.
The Act features focuses on giving customer more power by taking transparency to another level. In September 2020 government declared a new draft known as advertising code which gives customer protection against false advertisements, moreover protecting the customer from the celebrities who try to fool customers by doing paid review(s) of the products/services. The great thing about the advertising code is that it is applicable throughout all mediums of communication like social media, Print Media, etc.
Objectives and Salient features
The consumer protection bill 2019 primarily define the following consumer rights.
- Be protected against the marketing of goods, products or services which are hazardous to life and property;
- Be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods, products or services;
- Be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of goods, products or services at competitive prices;
- Be heard and to be assured that consumers’ interests will receive due consideration at appropriate fora;
- Seek redressal against unfair trade practice or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers;
- Right to consumer education.