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Analysis of Changes done Under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019


Author - Anjali Shekhawat

Keywords - Consumer Protection Act 2019, Consumer Protection from Cyberattacks, Liability of Advertisers, Consumer Commissions, E-commerce, Online Transactions


Abstract


“The contemporary era is marked as the era of consumers. No country can knowingly or unknowingly disregard the interest of the consumers[1].” Especially in the era of globalization and digitization, legislation should be framed accordingly to satisfy the requirements of the progressing world. With the increase in technology, the obvious possibility of cyberattacks and online frauds has increased and therefore it is mandatory to protect the interest of those who avail such services. “The US was the most targeted (Cyberattacks) nation in the world in 2019. However, in the second quarter, India surpassed the US. Throughout the year; India was in the top 5, especially after March 2019[2].” Therefore, under such circumstances, the Act of 2019 was much-needed legislation. The object of the Act is simply to provide speedy trials, redressal to grievances, and protection of consumers from all types of fraud, whether in an online or offline transaction.


Introduction


Law & Legislations; are made and developed according to the needs of society. Since our world has undergone many changes; so, has the legislation of earlier times to suit modern times. The replacement of the 1986 Act by the Consumer Protection Act 2019 is one such development of laws to better suit the needs of the digitized world. The new Act increased the scope of consumer protection. “Consumer Protection is a socio-economic day to day activity that is to be carried out by government and business with a prime objective of protecting the interests of consumers and their fair satisfaction. Consumer protection covers the poor quality of products, unfair market practices, misinformation, consumer grievances resulting from mergers and acquisitions of companies, product safety, product labeling, and price[3].” The Act of 2019 included the aspects of e-commerce, which was extremely desired to determine the rights of consumers using online platforms. “It is projected that nearly 329 million Indian citizens are going to buy products online, which means 70% of mobile internet users will shop online[4].” There have many instances of wrong items being received by customers, not getting any delivery after online payment, getting detected material with no replacement, etc. And this is not just about the products received. It also about maintaining the privacy of consumers, online platforms usually make customers sign privacy policy, and many of them are framed in a way to trick people. There have many claims of involvement of Facebook and misusing the app to help Donald Trump gain votes. All the users using a different kind of apps should be covered under the purview of this Act. Such apps are offering one or the other services which are availed by the users and the interest of such users must be protected.


The Consumer Protection Act, 2019


The Consumer Protection Act of 1986 has been safeguarding the interest of consumers for almost 3 decades. However, it was lacking in certain provisions by ignoring e-commerce customers. Therefore, the Consumer Protection Act of 2019 was enacted and passed by parliament on 9th Aug 2019. This Act widened the scope of Consumer protection provisions and provided for a better and well-defined system for redressal. The Act of 2019 amended a lot of Sections, such as the definition of the consumer to include e-commerce in it, the inclusion of telecom services, the inclusion of food under the definition of goods, etc. The Act not only improved the purview of provisions but also established commissions to address the grievances of consumers quickly and in a satisfactory manner. The enactment expanded the jurisdiction of commissions at district, state as well as national level. The Act established the Central Consumer Protection Authority, a separate authority for dealing with such matters which is an autonomous body working under the aegis of the Indian government. It will enhance implementation. The major provision included under this was the Liability set upon the advertisers and advertising companies to mislead the consumers. Ads influence people and thus, have the power to mislead them, and the Act by specifically providing for the liability has preserved the rights of consumers. The consumer protection Act of 2019 is remarkable progress and its proper implementation should be done.


Analysis


In India, technology is very new to most people and they fail to fully understand the Policies set by the apps and end up agreeing to them, which leads to several frauds being committed. And thus, the Act should be applauded to finally recognize e-commerce under the Act and providing protection to the vulnerable consumers who are defrauded on the hands of malicious sellers or producers. As the technology will continue to grow, there would be more and more related concepts to protect customers from cyber-crimes through fraud, breach of privacy, misinformation, etc. Recently, the Indian government has taken a huge step to promote the ban the Chinese App claiming that they stole the data of the users and then misused that data leading in infringement of Indian citizen's privacy and pose a threat to the country. Such instances make it more appropriate to have a well-defined law to protect the consumers of the country from the cyberattacks or infringement of rights by other countries. This Act is a step forward for the consumers and would protect the naive people from getting tricked into any vicious web of fraud sellers. The object of the Act of 2019 is to provide speedy justice, to frame a better system of redressal, to increase jurisdiction, and mainly to include the new era consumers. The significant part is the practical administration of the provisions and redressal mechanism provided under the Act, which is yet to be analyzed; But so far, the Act has recognized almost all possible grievances of consumers and is a remarkable development made by the legislature to address the aggrieved people.

[1]Sahoo, Sheetal & Chatterjee, Aman, “Consumer Protection - Problems and Prospects.” SSRN Electronic, 2009, Journal. 7. 10.2139/ssrn.1452526. Research Gate, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228237355_Consumer_Protection_-_Problems_and_Prospects, Accessed on 21st Aug, 2020. [2] “The global threat landscape report”, Subex Threat Research Lab, Subex Secure, https://www.subexsecure.com/pdf/reports/Threat-Landscape-Report-2019.pdf?utm_source=hs_automation&utm_medium=email&utm_content=83767810&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8AddjVClNnzrJRwrlM_c0xuXHdkO2dlmVOeI4X3SiKzpgo7AZ9_uTmSfxLWHjjC2THeE-PVVmAMmX7nNHxXFo6bS5T5g&_hsmi=83767810, Accessed on 21st Aug, 2020.

[3] Raju, Sidharth& Singh, Hare, “CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT”, Research Gate, October 2019, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/337021161_CONSUMER_PROTECTION_ACT. Accessed on 21st Aug, 2020.

[4] Sable, Vivek, Analysis of Consumer Protection Act, 2019, Research Gate, April 2020, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340939875_Analysis_of_Consumer_Protection_Act_2019. Accessed on 22nd Aug, 2020.

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