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- The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has initiated a country-wide campaign to prevent the sale of spurious and counterfeit goods that violate Quality Control Orders (QCOs) published by the Central Government.
- The campaign aims to raise awareness and consciousness among consumers to purchase goods that conform to BIS Standards.
- Central Consumer Protection Authority is a regulatory authority set up under Section 10(1) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
- It regulates matters affecting the rights of consumers by individuals or entities following improper trade practices or by the display of inappropriate or wrong advertisements affecting public interest and helps promote consumer trust by enforcing the rights of consumers through effective guidelines.
History and Objective:
- Central Consumer Protection Authority replaced the previous Consumer Protection Act, of 1986 and is formed as per The Consumer Protection Act, of 2019.
- The new act has been incorporated with additional consumer concerns like treating misleading advertisements and providing wrong information regarding the quality or quantity of goods or provision of services as an offence.
Central Consumer Protection Authority consists of the following members appointed by Central Government.
- Chief Commissioner
- Two Commissioners. One commissioner each will represent for goods and services.
Powers of CCPA:
Central Consumer Protection Authority has the following powers:
(i) If the commission finds violations of rights of consumers or in notice of trade practices which is unfair it can inquire or cause an inquiry, either on receipt of complaint or suo moto or as directed by Central Government.
(ii) If the commission finds after preliminary inquiry of an existence of a prima facie case of consumer rights violation or it is in notice of any unfair trade practice or any wrong or inaccurate advertisement which is prejudicial to public interest or to the interests of the consumers, it can order an investigation by the District Collector or by Director General.
(iii) If the commission finds prima facie of a person involved in violation of consumer rights or following any unfair trade practice or making any false or inaccurate advertisement as described above, it can call upon the person involved and can direct him to produce any document or record in his possession relating to it. In addition, the District Collector or Director General under the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973 has powers of search and seizure , and authority to ask submission of any record or document.
(iv) The commission can direct recalling of any dangerous, hazardous or unsafe goods or withdrawal of similar services and order refunding of the proceeds collected towards sale of goods or offering of services so recalled or order stoppage of any unfair practices after giving the person directed to do so, an opportunity of being heard.
(v) The commission can involve in and engage in services relating to consumer advocacy by offering services of registering complaints before the National Commission, the State Commission, or the District Commission, formed as per the Act, involving in the proceedings before them, suggesting remedial actions, involving itself in related research, creating awareness and guiding consumers on safety precautions.
(vi) The commission can direct to a trader or manufacturer or endorser or advertiser or publisher after investigation to discontinue advertisements which are wrong or misleading or prejudicial to consumers, and in such case impose penalties upto Rs 10 lakhs payable in cash.
(vii) The commission can also prevent the endorser of an advertisement which is wrong or misleading from making the same in relation to any product or service for a time period ranging upto one year, and three years in case of subsequent contravention.
Consumer Protection Act, 2019:
- The Act defined a consumer as a person who buys any goods or avails of service for final use.
- It does not include a person who buys a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purposes.
- It covers transactions through all modes including offline, and online.
- The Act clearly defined 6 Rights of consumers:
- Right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property.
- Right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services.
- Right to Choice among a variety of goods or services at competitive prices.
- Right to be heard
- Right to seek Redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices.
- Right to Consumer Awareness
- Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.
- It functions under the guidelines of The Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution
- It regulates matters linked to the violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements.
- The CCPA has an investigation wing; they may conduct an inquiry or investigation into the case of violations of rules.
- Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) functions;
- Inquiring into violations of consumer rights, investigating and taking appropriate action.
- It could pass orders to recall goods or withdraw hazardous services, and refund the price paid.
- It Issues directions to the concerned trader/ manufacturer/ endorser/ advertiser/ publisher to either discontinue a false or misleading advertisement.
- It imposes penalties on a manufacturer or an endorser of up to Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for up to two years for a false or misleading advertisement. In case of a subsequent offence, the fine may extend to Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of up to five years.
- It Issues safety notices to consumers against unsafe goods and services.
- Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (CDRCs) at the District, State, and national levels.
- Appeals from the State CDRC will be heard by the National CDRC.
- The final appeal to the Supreme Court.
- The District CDRC will entertain complaints where the value of goods and services does not exceed Rs 1 crore.
- The State CDRC will entertain complaints when the value is more than Rs 1 crore but does not exceed Rs 10 crore.
- Complaints with a value of goods and services over Rs 10 crore will be entertained by the National CDRC.