Is there any remedy against unfair trade practice under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986?

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What is unfair trade practice?

Act defines unfair trade practice under section 2 (1) (r ) of the Act wherein various practices were described and brought into the scope of unfair trade practice.  As per the definition, unfair trade practice means a trade practice in order to promote their sale of goods or services and to earn more profits by deceiving the customers, and the practice may be in the form of statement, orally or in writing or by visible representation. The various practices defined to constitute unfair trade practice are:

1.     False representation of goods and services about its quality, quantity, grade, composition, style or model;

2.     False representation of old goods as new goods

3.     Representing that goods or services  have sponsor­ship, approval, performance, characteristics, accesso­ries, uses or benefits which such goods or services do not have;

4.     represents that the seller or the supplier has a spon­sorship or approval or affiliation which such seller or supplier does not have;

5.     misleading representation concern­ing the need or usefulness of, any goods or services;

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6.     providing or making public representation that a warranty or guarantee on performance, efficacy or product’s life of any goods that is not based on an adequate or proper test or any promise to replace, maintain or repair an article or any part or continue service without any such intention to carryout

7.     Misleading the public on prices such as offering discounts, although it is not

8.     Representing of goods or services of particular reputed brand name when actually they are not as such.

Remedies against Unfair trade practice are:

In M/S. Coca-Cola India Limited vs Dr. Amarjit Singh, National Commission held that the type of remedy provided under section 14(1)(f) of the Act in respect of an unfair (or restrictive) trade practice, is that Consumer Forum may direct the concerned party to unfair trade practice or the restrictive trade practice or not to repeat them  and stated that there is no provision under Section of Act to pay any compensation to the person who makes allegation of unfair trade practice against a manufacturer/trader/service provider.  However, it was held that when a person, participated in the product promotion scheme, and he is considered as consumer and such person if established unfair trade practice against the entity under section 2(1)(r)(3)(b) and also deficiency in the operation of promotion of scheme, he will be entitled to relief under section 14(1)(f), and any other relief including compensation under section 14(1)(d) for deficiency of service.  The relief was seen in National commission judgment Mr. Rohit Bajaj & Mr.Mohit Bajaj vs Icici Bank Limited, in which it was stated that “Stipulation in the agreement that the consumer shall pay the price prevailing at the time of delivery is inconsequential”  and held that “practice adopted by ICCI Bank apparently an unfair trade practice and hence, as provided in Section 14(1)(f) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 the ICICI Bank is required to be directed to discontinue the unfair trade practice of alluring the persons to take loan at a specified rate and thereafter to increase the rate of interest”

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Adv. Anitha Gutti