Salient Features of Consumer Protection Act 1986

The salient features of Consumer Protection Act (CPA) 1986 are as follows:

(a) It is applicable to all goods, services and unfair trade practices unless specifically exempted by the Central Government.

(b) It covers all sectors private, public as well as co-operative.

(c) It provides three tier machinery for settling consumer grievances.

(d) It provides six rights to consumers.

Goods and services covered under CPA 1986

The term ‘goods’ under CPA 1986 has the same meaning as under The Sale of Goods Act, 1930. So, it covers all types of movable property other than money and includes stocks and shares, growing crops, etc. The term ‘service’ means service of any description made available to potential users and includes banking, financing, housing construction, insurance, entertainment, transport, supply of electrical and other energy, boarding and lodging, amusement, etc.

Who can file a complaint under CPA 1986?

The following persons can file a complaint under Consumer Protection Act 1986:

(a) A consumer;

(b) Any recognized voluntary consumer association whether the consumer is a member of that association or not;

(c) The Central or any State Government; and

(d) One or more consumers having same interest.

(e) Legal heir or representative in case of death of a consumer.

What complaints can be filed under CPA 1986?

A consumer can file a complaint relating to any one or more of the following:

(a) An unfair trade practice or a restrictive trade practice adopted by any trader or service provider;

(b) Goods bought by him or agreed to be bought by him suffer from one or more defect;

(c) Services hired or availed of, or agreed to be hired or availed of, suffer from deficiency in any respect;

(d) Price charged in excess of the price (i) fixed by or under the law for the time being in force, (ii) displayed on the goods or the package, (iii) displayed in the price list, or

(iv) Agreed between the parties; and

(e) Goods or services which are hazardous or likely to be hazardous to life and safety when used.

Where to file a complaint under CPA 1986?

(a)If the value of goods and services and the compensation claimed does not exceed ₹20,00,000, the complaint can be filed in the District Forum;

(b)If it exceeds ₹20,00,000 but does not exceed ₹1,00,00,000, the complaint can be filed before the State Commission;

(c)If it exceeds ₹1,00,00,000, the complaint can be filed before the National Commission.

How to file a complaint under CPA 1986?

A complaint can be made in person or by any authorized agent or by post. The complaint can be written on a plain paper duly supported by documentary evidence in support of the matter, the relief sought, the description and address of the complainant as well as the opposite party, facts relating to the complaint along with the timing of the events.

Time limit for filing the case

The consumer can file the complaint within two years from the date on which the cause of action had arisen. However, it may be admitted even after the lapse of two years if sufficient cause is shown for the delay.

Time limit for deciding the case

Every complaint must be disposed off as speedily as possible within a period of three months from the date of notice received by the opposite party. Where the complaint requires laboratory testing of goods this period is extended to five months.

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