The transformation from an agrarian culture to a consumer oriented society India is soon going to be the world’s third largest consumer market. As consumerism has an undeniable authority in the Indian economy the protection of rights of a consumer is also become an inevitable factor. The consumer Protection Act of 1986 was enacted with various provisions to ensure the rights of the buyer and the act had to subject to amendments in the year 2019 and 2020 for the proper implementation of the provisions resonating with the new consumer market scenario that includes the middle class population to a great extent. The act of 2019 has eight chapters and 107 sections detailing the new consumer protection rights. The act aims at the protection of consumer rights and settlement option for the consumer disputes on any matter connected to such disputes. The constitution of Central and State consumer protection council according to chapter 2 of the Act has the prime objective of speedy redressal of all consumer grievances where the consumer right is infringed.
Another important feature of the act is enumerated in chapter 3 unlike the Consumer protection act of 1986 is the constitution of Central Consumer protection Authority for enforcing and protecting the rights of consumer by controlling the unfair trade practices including e-commerce. As per section 15 of the act the Central Authority has an investigation branch with a Director General for conducting enquiry and investigation in consumer Grievances.
Section 17 empowers the consumer to make complaints through writing or in any electronic mode of communication to these authorities. The great advantage of the enactment is the speedy process of adjudication that is less time consuming unlike the dragging time consuming process of the act of 1986. According to the act of 2019 the consumer can file the complaint where he resides and not within the limit of place from he purchased the goods or services that was a cumbersome process had to be followed according to the Act of 1986.
According to the E-commerce providers must provide the necessary information with regard to mode of payment, refund, shipment, security of payment method, origin of country of the service or good providers, exchange, guarantee and warranty period or any other specification mentioned in the act related to E- commerce.
Another vital aspect of the Act is the provision for where the service provider, manufacturer or seller held liable to compensate for any of the damage caused by any defective products or services.
As per section 37 of the act a conciliation or mediation process may be initiated and conducted through mediation cells and no appeal shall be filed against the settlement through mediation.
Chapter 8 though enumerated as miscellaneous, section 94 confers all possible measures to prevent in unfair trade practices in E- commerce and Direct selling empowers the Central Government to frame time to time rules and regulation through proper notification.
The Act of 2019 is has an undoubted impact on trade, sales and services that is highly dominated by electronic systems and process unlike the traditional buyer and seller relation.