Guarding Consumer Interests: An Insight into Indian Consumer Laws
The primary law governing the protection of consumer rights in India is the Consumer Protection Act, of 2019. This Act was enacted to replace the Consumer Protection Act, of 1986, and to provide a more comprehensive and effective framework for the protection of consumer rights.
The Consumer Protection Act, of 2019, defines a consumer as a person who buys any goods or avails any services for consideration. It also includes a person who obtains goods for resale or for commercial purposes, and a person who avails services for commercial purposes.
The Act confers the following rights on consumers:
- The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods and services, so as to protect consumers against unfair trade practices.
- The right to choose from a variety of goods and services at competitive prices.
- The right to be heard and to have access to a fair and speedy dispute redressal mechanism.
- The right to be compensated for any loss or injury suffered due to defective goods or services.
- The right to consumer education.
The Act also establishes a three-tier consumer dispute redressal system, consisting of District Commissions, State Commissions, and the National Commission. Consumers can file complaints with any of these commissions if they have a grievance against a seller or service provider.
In addition to the Consumer Protection Act, there are a number of other laws and regulations that protect consumer rights in India. These include:
- The Sale of Goods Act, 1930
- The Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976
- The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
- The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940
- The Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986
- The Competition Act, 2002
- The Right to Information Act, 2005
Consumers can contact the Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, or the consumer protection council of their state, for more information on their rights and how to file a complaint.
Consumers can also file a complaint online through the National Consumer Helpline portal (https://consumerhelpline.gov.in/).