The government has notified the new Consumer Protection Act 2019, replacing a three-decade old version of it. The Consumer Protection Act 1986 provided for a three-tier consumer dispute redressal structure.
Under the new Act, the government has introduced consumer protection councils, a central consumer protection authority, and a simplified dispute resolution process.
The CPA 2019 will also cover rules on e-commerce and direct selling. The Central Consumer Protection Authority will serve as an apex body to look into consumer grievances. It will be empowered to investigate violations of consumer rights, recall unsafe goods, and penalise manufacturers/endorsers/publishers of misleading advertisements.
"The rules for prevention of unfair trade practice by e-commerce platforms will also be covered under this Act. The gazette notification for establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Authority and rules for prevention of unfair trade practice in e-commerce are under publication," said the Ministry of Consumer Affairs in a release.
The CPA 2019 has introduced mediation as an alternate dispute resolution mechanism. Mediation cells will be attached to consumer commissions. "Panel of mediators to be selected by selection committee consisting of the President and a member of Consumer Commission," said the release.
CPA 2019 also includes a provision of product liability. This will deter manufacturers and service providers from delivering defective products or deficient services.