The Consumer Protection Bill 2018, that will replace the Consumer Protection Act of 1986, was much needed considering the rapid changes in the way we shop since then. It was passed in the Lok Sabha on 20 December and is now waiting to be passed by the Rajya Sabha.
A consumer is any person who buys a good or service for personal use whether online or offline. The bill addresses any complaints from consumers about defects from goods purchased to services availed.
Here are some proposed changes in the bill that you should know about:
- The new bill will set up consumer dispute redressal commissions at the district, state and national level. The district, state and national level commisions will listen to unfair contracts worth less than Rs one crore, Rs one crore to 10 crore and above Rs 10 crore respectively.
- A Central Consumer Protection Authority will be set up by the bill for the promotion and protection of consumer rights as a class. The authority can issue safety notices, order refunds, recall goods or rule against a misleading advertisement.
- The consumer can file for a claim against the manufacturer or service provider or the seller if a defect in the goods or deficiency in the service causes an injury.
- Contracts can be defined as "unfair" by the bill if they affect the rights of the consumers.
- The bill proposes filing of consumer complaints online with the Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission. In 21 days the complaint will have to be considered admissible or not. When not decided within 21 days, the complaint shall be deemed accepted.