Consumer Protection Act, 1986

The main objective of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is to protect the interests of consumers in India. It aims to provide a speedy and simple redressal to consumers’ grievances.

It provides effective safeguards to consumers against various types of exploitations and unfair trade practices. The Act has created special consumer courts for enforcement of the rights of consumers. It provides a convenient and inexpensive procedure for redressal of grievances of consumers.

The principal objective of the Consumer Protection Act is to grant shield for the improved safeguard to consumers. Unlike prevailing laws, which are disciplinary or precautionary in nature, the provisions of this Act are compensatory in nature. The act is aimed to afford simple, quick and economical redressal to the consumers’ grievances, and reliefs of a particular nature and award of damages wherever appropriate to the consumer.

The Consumer Protection Act has been revised in 1993 both to extend its coverage and scope and to augment the powers of the redressal. The fundamental rights of consumers as per the Consumer Protection Act are:

  1. Right to be shielded against promotion of goods and services which are risky to life and property
  2. Right to be conversant regarding the wholesomeness, standard ,quality, quantity, potency, and value of goods, or services so as to shield the buyer against unfair trade practices
  3. Right to be ensured,  access to range of goods and services at viable prices wherever possible
  4. Right to be informed and be ensured that consumers’ benefit will be given due consideration at appropriate level
  5. Right to search for redressal against unjust trade practices or restraining trade practices or deceitful exploitation of consumers
  6. Right to consumer education

Problems of Consumer Protection Act 1986:

The following are a few  examples  as to  how  companies  are  involved  in  unfair  trade practices  in  order  to  attract  consumers. Few emerging issues related to the Consumer Protection Act 1986 are:

1) Unfair trade Practices: There are many unfair trade practices among the companies, if those practices cannot be stopped, the objectives of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 will be difficult to achieve.
2) Spurious or Duplicate Goods: Numbers of fake companies very often imitate the design, color and shape and outlook of the original brand which is opposed to consumer rights. For example Fair  & Lovely is imitated as Fairy & Lovely, Life Buoy as Life Boy etc.
3) Misleading advertisements: TV commercials are misleading; as because real promise of product is miles away from TV ads.
4) Gimmick of Warranty and Guaranty: There is no true warranty or guarantee at all. Many consumers do not know the legal essence of these two terms.
5) Pricing: Pricing is out of control and reach of the consumers. Most  of  the  consumers are  not  aware  about  the  essence  of  star  (*)

which  means “Conditions Apply”. This means the quoted price is applicable only upon happening of an event. Other challenges consumer protection act 1986 are:
6) Recycled or Renovated Goods 
7) Bogus Tele -Marketing 
8) Unsecured Internet-Banking, etc.