Consumer Protection Bill 2018 is legislation for fortifying the rights of buyers and giving a system to redressal of their complaints with respect to defects in goods and inefficiency in services was passed by the Lok Sabha Thursday. In what is by all accounts, the bill seems to be the first move towards tending to disputes faced by Indian customers, the bill was passed in the midst of much uproar.
The bill, which was presented in January amid the previous winter session of Parliament, is required to address every concern with respect to the protection of consumer rights.
It will currently be taken up for debate and consequent passage in the Rajya Sabha. It is aimed at refining the three-decade-old Consumer Protection Act 1986, the new bill proposes setting up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA).
Here are seven key points about the Consumer Protection Bill 2018
1. Executive agency
On the off chance that the bill sees the light of the day, an executive committee under the Central Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (CCPA) will be formed. This organization will be entrusted with protecting purchasers from any unfair trade practices including false ads. On the off chance that the committee wishes, it can even go for a class action suit against the concerned organization.
The committee can likewise arrange an organization to review flawed items or issue refunds to purchasers. Sources demonstrated that the CCPA will be based on the US Federal Trade Commission.
2. Greater responsibility and accountability
The bill intends to clear the route for another type of class action suit, where the risk or liability of producers or service providers won’t be constrained to only one group of clients/customers. Or maybe, it will consider all clients/customers who have been influenced by a specific product of an organization.
In the event that the bill is passed, consumer laws in India will change radically. It will offer more power to clients and consumers and even land an organization or a company in a bad position over phoney commercials.
3. Stricter position
On the off chance that any item causes damage, demise or any sort of physical harm to a shopper, all parties included (manufacturer, producer, and dealer) will be considered responsible for the same. Action will be taken whether there are defects in manufacturing or improper product labelling among different issues.
4. More power to the customer
The bill’s entry in Rajya Sabha will likewise offer more power to shoppers. The bill prescribes customer debates to be heard by a single entity and not at separate levels (district, state and national). Moreover, there will likewise be a consumer mediation cell, which will look into the disputes that can be settled swiftly.
5. New googly for e-commerce firms
Liability for web-based business firms is likewise set to increment as they will presently need to impart more information to the client. All web-based business firms will be compelled to unveil details on how these organizations treat customer information. Moreover, the bill likewise names online business firms as service providers, along these lines expanding liability if there should be an occurrence of an error.
6. Endorsers of false adverts to be held obligated and liable
Any superstar or famous individual deceiving clients through false ads can likewise get into trouble. The new bill proposes to consider such individuals to be held accountable. As punishment, they (manufacturers and producers) are probably going to go through at least 2 years in prison apart from a minimum fine of Rs 10 lakh. In light of the degree of the offence, the punishment could be a lot harsher.
In any case, celebrities caught in the crossfire will get no jail term yet should pay fine.
7. Taking action against fake complaints
The new bill additionally proposes to take action against phoney complaints by people against organizations and companies. A fine of Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 will be applicable if any customer records a phoney grievance with the authority.
In conclusion, by presenting specific provisions governing important issues like deluding promotions and advertisements, the creation of a regulator, mediation and product liability for the first time ever, the Bill fares well. It tries to substantially diminish the time taken for adjudication of disputes by Consumer Forums. In any case, clearness on specific issues like the meaning of endorsers, design defects under the product liability and overlapping jurisdiction of CCPA and Consumer Forums for complaints influencing a class of shoppers are a few areas, which should be catered to. While the Bill is unquestionably a positive development and a step in the right direction and will fortify consumer rights and sentiment within a reasonable time-frame, it is yet to see the light of day.