June 6, 2023

New Delhi . Consumers have got a new weapon in the form of Consumer Protection Act-2019 to protect their rights. After nearly 34 years, the e-commerce platform and direct selling have also been included in the purview of the Consumer Protection Act-2019, implemented since Monday. However, provisions related to e-commerce and direct selling have not yet come into force. Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan on Monday told reporters through video conferencing that consumers can now register their complaints through mobile phones too.

He said that the specialty of the new law is that e-commerce companies have also been included in it and now consumers will be more empowered and will be able to protect their rights. E-commerce companies will inevitably have to provide all the desired information regarding the product, including the name of the country of origin of the manufacture of a product, on their platform.

Along with giving the necessary information regarding the product on the e-platform, companies will have to accept the receipt of any consumer complaint within 48 hours and redress within one month from the date of receipt of the complaint.

They will also have to provide information related to returning the product, refunding the money, product exchange, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment, payment methods, complaint redressal mechanism, payment channels, security of payment channels, option of charge back, etc.

Lina Nandan, Secretary in the Department of Consumer Affairs, said that notification of e-commerce provisions will be released by the end of this week, while notification of rules related to direct selling will be released later.

The new legislation includes Consumer Protection Council, Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), simplified dispute redressal mechanism, arbitration, product liability, e-commerce and direct selling regulations, fines and jail sentences for adulteration of products or sale of counterfeit products. There is a provision.

Order to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers on the CCPA, as well as to prosecute consumer rights violations and file complaints, withdraw unsafe goods and services, unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements Shall have powers to impose fines on the manufacturers / endorsers / publishers of misleading advertisements.

The new law provides for the constitution of the Central Consumer Protection Council, a consultative body on consumer related matters. It will be chaired by the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and the Minister of State will be its Vice-Chairman and 34 dignitaries from various fields will be its members. Ministers in charge of consumer affairs of two states each of North, South, Eastern, Western and Northeast will also be involved. The term of the council will be three years.

Further, the National Commission / State Commission shall inspect each State Commission / District Commission at least once in a calendar year respectively and issue administrative instructions to improve their functioning, based on the report.

At the same time, the State / District Commission will have to upload their final orders on their websites within three days of the announcement of the order.

The State / District Commission will have to upload the details of the pending cases in which the hearing on the debate has been completed but not ordered even after more than 45 days have passed on its website by the 7th of every month.