Consumer Protection: Consumer Protection Act 1986, Goods and Services Covered Under CPA 1986, Filling of Complaints

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Consumer Protection Act 1986

  • The Consumer Protection Act was passed in 1986 and it came into force from 1 July 1987. The main objectives of the Act are to provide better and all-round protection to consumers and effective safeguards against different types of exploitation such as defective goods, deficient services and unfair trade practices. It also makes provisions for a simple, speedy and inexpensive machinery for redressal of consumers’ grievances.

  • Salient Features of Consumer Protection Act 1986

The salient features of Consumer Protection Act (CPA) 1986 are as follows:

  • It applies to all goods, services and unfair trade practices unless specifically exempted by the Central Government.

  • It covers all sectors whether private, public or co-operative.

  • It provides for establishment of consumer protection councils at the central, state and district levels to promote and protect the rights of consumers and a three-tier quasihelical machinery to deal with consumer grievances and disputes.

  • It provides a statutory recognition to the six rights of consumers.

Image of Image of Consumer Protection Act 1986 defination

Image of Image of Consumer Protection Act 1986 Defination

Goods and Services Covered under CPA 1986

The term ‘goods’ under this Act has the same meaning as under the sale of goods Act. Accordingly, it covers all types of movable property other than money and includes stocks and shares, growing crops, etc. The term ‘service’ means service of any description made available to potential users and includes banking, financing, housing construction, insurance, entertainment, transport, supply of electrical and other energy, boarding and lodging, amusement, etc. The services of doctors, engineers, architects, lawyers etc. are included under the provisions of Consumer Protection Act.

Filing of Complaints

For redressal of consumer grievances, a complaint must be filed with the appropriate forum. In this section let us know, who can file a complaint, what complaints can be filed, where to file the complaint, how to file the complaints etc.

Who Can File a Complaint?

The following persons can file a complaint under Consumer Protection Act 1986:

  • A consumer.

  • Any recognised voluntary consumer association whether the consumer is a member of that association or not.

  • The Central or any State Government; and

  • One or more consumers where these are numerous consumers having same interest.

  • Legal heir or representative in case of death of a consumer.

What Complaints Can be Filed?

A consumer can file a complaint relating to any one or more of the following:

  • An unfair trade practice or a restrictive trade practice adopted by any trader or service provider.

  • Goods bought by him or agreed to be bought by him suffer from one or more defect.

  • Services hired or availed of, or agreed to be hired or availed of, suffer from deficiency in any respect.

  • Price charged in excess of the price

    • Fixed by or under the law for the time being in force,

    • Displayed on the goods or the package,

    • Displayed in the price list, or

    • Agreed between the parties; and

  • Goods or services which are hazardous or likely to be hazardous to life and safety when used.

Where to File a Complaint?

If the value of goods and services and the compensation claimed does not exceed Rs. 20 lakhs, the complaint can be filed in the District Forum, if it exceeds Rs. 20 lakhs but does not exceed Rs. One crore, the complaint can be filed before the State Commission; and if it exceeds Rs. One crore, the complaint can be filed before the National Commission.

How to File a Complaint?

A complaint can be made in person or by any authorised agent or by post. The complaint can be written on a plain paper duly supported by documentary evidence in support of the allegation contained in the complaint. The complaint should clearly specify the relief sought. It should also contain the nature, description and address of the complainant as well as the opposite party, and so also the facts relating to the complaint and when and where it arose.

What Are the Reliefs Available to Consumers?

Depending on the nature of complaint the and relief sought by the consumer, and the facts of the case, the Redressal Forum/Commission may order one or more of the following reliefs:

  • Removal of defects from the goods or deficiencies in services in question.

  • Replacement of the defective goods.

  • Refund of the price paid.

  • Award of compensation for loss or injury suffered.

  • Discontinuance of unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practice or not to repeat them.

  • Withdrawal of hazardous or dangerous goods from being offered for sale.

  • Provision of adequate costs to aggrieved parties.

Time Limit for Filing the Case

The consumer can file the complaint within two years from the date on which the cause of action had arisen. However, it may be admitted even after the lapse of two years if sufficient cause is shown for the delay.

Time Limit for Deciding the Case

Every complaint must be disposed of as speedily as possible within a period of three months from the date of notice received by the opposite party. Where the complaint requires laboratory testing of goods this period is extended to five months.

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