Basic Concepts Under the Consumer Protection Act
Basic concepts under the consumer Protection Act
1. Consumer: The term consumer is defined as follows.
(i) A person who buys any goods for a consideration. It also includes any user of such goods when such use is made with the approval of the buyer. But it does not include a person who obtains such goods for re-sale or for any commercial purposes
(ii)A person hires or avails of any services for a consideration, it also includes any beneficiary of such, services other than the person who hires or avails of the services for consideration when such services are availed of with the approval of the first mentioned person.
2. Complaint: Complaint means any allegation in writing made by a complainant in regard to me or more of the following:
(i) That he has suffered loss or damage as a result of any unfair trade practice or restrictive trade practice adopted by any trader,
(ii) That the goods bought by him or agreed to be bought by him suffer from one or more defects,
(iii) That the services hired or availed of or agreed to be hired or availed of by him suffer from deficiency in any respect,
(iv) That a trader has charged for the goods mentioned in the complaint, a price in excess of the price,
• Fixed by or under any law for the time being in force, or
• Displayed on the goods, or
• Displayed on any packet containing such goods,
(v) That goods which will be hazardous to life and safety when used, are being offered for sale to the public in contravention of the provisions of any law and for the time being in force requiring traders to display information in regard to the contents, manner and effect of use of such goods.
3. Class Complaint: The Consumer Protection Amendment (Act) 1993 has permitted class complaints. Such a complaint can be filed with a District Forum by one or more consumers, on behalf of, or for the benefit of several consumers having a common interest. Thus, one or more members I a class or a group may seek relief on behalf of the entire class or group where the complaints, claims or questions of law are common.
4. Persons who can file a Complaint: The following categories of persons can file a complaint under the Act:
• A consumer, or
• The Central Government, or
• Any State Government, or
• One or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest.
5. Period for Filing Complaints:
(i) The District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission shall not divulge a complaint unless it is filed inside two years from the date on which the source of action has arisen.
(ii) However, a complaint may be entertained even after the expiry of the said two years, if the complainant satisfies the consumer courts that he had sufficient cause for not filing the complaint within such period.