Union Cabinet approved the New Consumer Protection Bill, 2015 replacing the 29 years old Consumer Protection Bill, 1986 to stop unfair trade practices and provide safety to consumer goods and services in the country. This bill is prepared based on the model followed in U.S and European countries.
- Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA): CCPA as an apex regulatory authority with more powers to protect and enforce the rights of consumers. It will have powers to recall products and initiate action suit against defaulting companies including e-tailers for refunds and return of products.
- Stringent penalty: In certain cases, the Bill adds stringent penalty provisions including life imprisonment.
- Product liability: If product or services causes personal injury, death or damage to property, CCPA will have powers to take action against defaulting manufacturers or service providers.
- Speedy disposal of court cases: Provision related to “Mediation” has been proposed which will act as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. However, mediation will be under the aegis of consumer courts.
- Right to inquire: A right to hold inquiry without requiring consumer complaints regarding the quality, quantity, purity, potency, price and standards of goods or services , which could hazardous to life and property of any consumer, has also been given to this authority.
- Power to order to withdraw false Promises: The authority will be given powers to order the manufacturers and advertisers to withdraw false and misleading advertisements. They will also be empowered to search, seize documents, records related to any articles.
- Cancel license: Consumer regulatory authority will have the right to recall products and cancel licenses if more than one person gets affected by any product or services.
- Establishment of circuit bench: For speedy disposal of complaints consumers can file complaints electronically circuit bench along with traditional mechanism of filing complaints in consumer courts that have jurisdiction over the place of residence.
- Other provisions: Under the new bill, consumer will be able to make online complain.