Saturday, July 24, 2010

consumer protection

Take a look this should only encourage you all...its a news piece from TOI..

NEW DELHI: If a shopkeeper doesn't give you a bill for your purchase, you may
soon be able to take him to court. At the same time, anything and everything you
buy can be challenged legally if it is found to be of poor quality. A product
need not be "hazardous" at the beginning to be "unsafe" later. Most importantly,
consumers will be able to receive extra money from consumer fora in case of
protracted litigation.

The central government is mulling a clutch of amendments to Consumer Protection
Act, 1986, to empower consumers and to inject transparency in the three-tier
consumer protection fora at the district, state and national level.

If accepted, the Act will make a shopkeeper not issuing cash memo or bills for
goods sold as guilty under the law. The possession of bill makes a consumer a
"bonafide" customer and its absence robs him of a stronger footing in courts if
he challenges a sale. It will henceforth be dubbed an "unfair trade practice".

The most consequential change may be the widening of the definition of "defect"
and "deficiency". While the Act clubs a few shortcomings in a product to qualify
as "defect", it is proposed to keep the definition open-ended -- by replacing
"means" which follows the spelt-out defects with "includes" -- to qualify any
unspecified flaw as defect.

The seller will in future have to give the buyer every bit of information about
a commodity. It is proposed that withholding information about a good, which can
influence the choice of a customer, should be treated as an offence.

The definition of "unfair trade practice" is to be expanded to include the
unforeseen modus operandi of traders as offences. It will allow the law to not
specify every unfair practice in the law.

The changes also seek to bring transparency in consumer courts with regard to
selection of presiding officers, filing of cases and discharge of justice.

Consumers will be able to file "cases online" in what is an attempt to empower

A key proposal says that presidents or members in consumer fora should be barred
from pleading before them. This includes those who either held office in these
fora or wielded administrative control there. It is an attempt to stop any
unfair clout to be pedalled in the courts.

The Act seeks to empower consumer courts to award "interest" to compensate
consumers who suffer from prolonged court battles.

State commissions are to be given more power to be able to renew their own
orders if they notice factual mistakes in the records. The powers of judicial
magistrate first class will be more explicit under the Act.

The quasi-judicial three-tier consumer disputes redressal machinery -- national,
state and district -- have seen around 34 lakh cases filed till April 2010, of
which 30 lakh have been disposed of. The rate of disposal has been around 89%.

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