The economic progress, Industrial growth and the accompanying developments in the international trade and commerce has resulted in a vast expansion of businesses all around. A huge variety of consumer goods and services have started appearing in the markets to cater the ever increasing demand from consumers for not only products, but also services like housing ,banking, financing , Insurance ,Airlines ,Railways ,Education ,Carriage & Couriers , Transport, Electricity, Entertainment, Medical ,Hotels & Restaurants etc.
Most of the queries referred to NCH relate to the provisions under the Consumer Protection Act and the referral of cases to the District Forums, State and National Commission. To provide speedy and simple redressal to consumer disputes, Quasi Judicial system is functional at District, State and National Level in the form of District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forums, State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission and National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission .These /Forums /Commission observe the principle of natural Justice for redressing the grievance of the consumers.
Legal issues come into play in some form or the other in each sector .After amendment to the act in 2002, issue of unfair trade practice has got a wider scope to deal with the matters and specifically misleading advertisement appearing in print media as well as electronic media day in and day out. Hence apart from defective goods and deficient services, consumers suffering from unfair trade practices while purchasing the goods and hiring services can also get their grievance redressed through these redressal agencies.
Pecuniary Jurisdiction of Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies in India.
• At District level--Limitation up to 20 lakh (About 621 forums functional all over the country).
• At State level—Limitation up to one crore (About 35 State Commissions functional all over the country).
• At National level—Matter above one crore (National Commission situated at Delhi).
Period for filing the complaint before consumer redressal agencies
• The District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission shall not admit a complaint unless it is filed within two years from the date on which the cause of action has arisen
Provided: - A complaint may be entertained after two years, if the complainant satisfies the District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, that he had sufficient cause for not filing the complaint within such period.
Admission process under CP Act.
•Consumer needs to register his complaint before the appropriate consumer forum as per the jurisdiction. Forum after going though the complaint call the complainant normally within a day or two for preliminary hearing wherein following things are decided.
•As to whether complainant is a consumer .
•Whether complaint has been filed within two years from the date of cause of action has arisen.
•Whether the forum /commission has the pecuniary as well as territorial jurisdiction to deal with the matter.
The process of admission is to be completed within 21 days from the date of registering the complaint before the redressal agency.
Transfer of the consumer case :
The power to Transfer consumer case from one forum to another vests with the president of state commission of the state and from one state commission to another with the president of national commission at central level.
Standardization of goods
Though there is no compulsion for the manufactures to obtain standard certificate for the quality and standard of their products, Government has the policy under Bureau of Indian standard to obtain certificate for particular products and food items for health safety as specified by BIS. Incase of failure on the part of manufacturers to the specific rules, they can be penalized as per law. Some of the important Government bodies working for standardization of the products are-
• Bureau of Indian standards for various electrical goods and other number of items.
• Agricultural marketing department, govt. of India for cereals fats spices etc.
• Silk mark organization ,a registered society sponsored by central silk board ministry of textiles ,Govt of India.
• Food safety and standards authority of India.
• Central Drug Standard Control Organization.
Late Possession, No Possession, Defective Dwelling, Area Less, Cost Escalation, Forfeiture Of Registration Fee In Case Of Cancellation Of Flat, Approach Road Dispute.
LAW LAID DOWN
1)Purchaser is a consumer against board/construction Company for services hired.
2)Erring officer can be penalized with the payment of compensation which is to be paid to the consumer.
3)Order for interest on the amount deposited should be on the basis of facts of the case and not always @18% as ordered by National commission.
4)If order for interest is given, there should not be any further order for compensation as both the things cannot go together.
5) In case where compensation for mental agony is given, there should not be any tax deduction at source as such compensation is not an income.
6) That where an auction is on ‘as is where is basis’ with reference to a public auction of the existing site ,the purchase /lessee is not a consumer ,the owner is not a service provider ”.
7) Land owner, who enters into an agreement with a builder, for construction of an Apartment Building and for sharing of the constructed area, is a `consumer' entitled to maintain a complaint against the builder as a service-provider under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
Information Technology Act, 2000 has done a big deal in giving recognition to online purchases. Reserve Bank of India by issuing various circulars regarding online banking and money transfer activities have made consumers capable of securing the online space. It’s true that as a whole, there are no specific laws that seek to protect consumers in the online space. However, that does not necessarily mean that the consumers are left without any recourse and in this regard we shall examine whether it is possible to use the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 to protect consumer rights in the online environment as well.
While looking into the present frame work of Consumer Protection Act, we find enough scope to make use of this law with the same strength as is done purchases in physical presence with a little careful dealing.
• Section 10A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 ("IT Act") provides validity to e-contracts.
• In net purchasing, since proposal and acceptances are made on computer sitting at their places, jurisdiction at both the places has been considered by the forums /commissions under Consumer Protection Act as practiced by now and supported by various judgments too. Hence consumers can easily reach to consumer forums in cases of default on the part of seller or service provider.
• Advertising is an important and legitimate means for a seller to awaken interest in his products. Absence of a single comprehensive legislation in terms of a proper code to follow by the industry and the authority to regulate or guide the pattern of advertising is till date a problem. In 1985, the Advertising Standards Council of India ("ASCI"), a non statutory body, was established that created a self regulatory mechanism of ensuring ethical advertising practices. Amendment in the consumer protection act 2002 had added a clause unfair trade practice which is specifically meant for misleading ads and works well on e-commerce purchases also.
While Consumer Protection Act 1986 is already on way to be amended suitably after earlier three amendments, Consumer is also bound to take adequate care while dealing with net and making purchases on line in his own interest .
• To get information about the company:
• Keep your personal information private.
• Shop only with known e-merchants .
• Review your monthly bank and credit card .