Q. I bought some goods and availed some services for commercial use. I want to know whether these goods and services can be brought under the purview of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986? What are the main features of Consumer Protection Act?
A. Act defined the consumer under Section 2(1)(d) that any person who buys any goods or consideration, also user of the such goods other than the person purchased the goods for consideration, or the person who hires any services for consideration, but not the person who obtained goods for resale or for any commercial purpose, however, it has exempted the commercial purpose used by the consumer for his livelihood by means of self-employment (Laxmi Engineering Works vs P S G Industrial Institute (1986-1995 Consumer 1553 (NS)).
- The main object of the Act is to provide consumer protection and consumer education.
- The Act is a supplementary Act to various Acts recognized by the Preamble of the Act such as Standards of Weights and Measurers Act, 1976, Essential Commodities Act, 1955, Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 1986, etc., to provide better protection to the consumers in addition to the remedies given the above Acts.
- Chapter III of the Act deals with the establishment of Consumer Dispute Redressal Agencies at District, State and National levels which are quasi-judicial in nature for speedy disposal of the cases by means of time-bound proceedings and settlement between the disputes. The Act mainly deals with the disputes related to defective goods or services sold to the consumers by the seller/manufacturer.
- Unlike in Civil Courts, the proceedings in the Consumer Forum are simplified in such a way that an ordinary consumer can represent on his /her own and address his grievances to presiding officer. The Consumer Forums while disposing the consumer disputes follows natural justice and provide the appropriate compensation to the Consumer from the seller/manufacturer.
- The Act enacted to protect and promote the consumer rights in various means by protecting the consumers against the selling of hazardous goods, ensuring consumers the right to information regarding quality, quantity, ingredients/components, standard weight and price of goods to products, by which the consumers are protected from unfair trade practice, deficiency service and restrictive trade practice.
- The Act established the competent machinery like Consumer Protection Councils at State and Central level to implement the main object of promoting and protecting the rights of consumer.
- The Act ensures the consumers that the retailers should provide access to wide variety of goods at competitive prices.
- The Act also provides enforcement of orders awarded by the Forums and penalties for noncompliance of the orders.
Therefore, it is clearly observed from the definition of “consumer” in the Act that goods and services brought for commercial goods not come under the purview of Consumer Protection Act.
By Anitha Gutti