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Law

Consumer Protections

In the modern world, any person who consumes or avails service on payment or deferred payment is a consumer and the person who sells goods or render service to his customer or clients is bound by a contract express or implied to serve as expressed or impliedly agreed to between the seller or service provider on the one hand and the consumer on the other. When there is the deficiency in service or defects in the goods sold, there arises a dispute between the seller or service provider and the consumers. The doctrine of laissez-faire in other words ‘let to do’ always granted the fullest liberty to the unscrupulous merchants to sell their products in accordance with their whims and fancies without the interruption of the State, leaving the interest of the customers unprotected. The customers or consumers were left at their mercy. Under the doctrine of Caveat emptor or ‘buyer is aware’ only the buyer is bound to be vigilant in buying goods or availing services and if any defects are found later, the seller or service provider cannot compensate or make good the deficiencies. However owing to the development of the theory of consumer protection, the doctrine of caveat emptor has gone and the interest of the consumer is well protected by the legislative measures. Nowadays the consumers are considered to be the paymasters of the sellers or service providers and their interests are well protected or taken care of and as such the consumers are the backbone of the sellers or service providers. Therefore it is just and necessary to bring legislative measures to ensure the protection of the rights of consumers. 

The Consumer Protection Act 1986 defines the consumer as follows:

Section 2(1)(d) defines: 
 

  • (i) buys any goods for consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any user of such goods other than the person who buys such goods for consideration paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised, or under any system of differed payment when such use is made with the approval of such person, but does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or any commercial purpose; or

  • (ii) hires [or avails] any services for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any beneficiary of such services other than the person who hires [or avails of ] the services for consideration paid or promised, or partly paid and party promised, or under any system of deferred payment, when such services availed of with the approval of the first mentioned person [but does not include a person who avails of such services [ or any commercial purpose ].

  • [Explanation. —For the purposes of this clause, “commercial purpose” does not include use by a person of goods bought and used by him and services availed by him exclusively for the purposes of earning his livelihood by means of self-employment;] 

    As per the Consumer Protection Act 1986, apart from the aggrieved consumer any organization or consumer association registered under the Companies Act 1956 or a single consumer on behalf of the others or the legal heirs of the consumer can approach the consumer redressal forum for necessary remedy.

 

  • There are three tiers of consumer redressal forums: 
  • 1. District forum
  • 2. State level forum
  • 3. National Consumer Disputes redressal Tribunal.
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