As an introduction, consumer rights are those rights belonging to a consumer that to protect him/her from being cheated by a salesman/manufacturer. The Consumer Protection Laws of India ensure fair trade and well-being of the consumer in the market. A consumer can be defined as a person who purchase goods or services for his own use and to resell or use such goods in production and manufacturing.
According to Section 2(1)(e) of the Consumer Protection Act, ‘ a Consumer Dispute’ means a dispute where a person against whom a complaint has been made, denies or disputes the allegations contained in the complaint. If the other party agrees to the complaint, dispute ceases.
Generally, laws in relation to product or service liability differ from nation to nation. The main objective of product or service liability is protection and safety of the consumer even if the consumer is himself responsible for his own loss. Product liability generally involves claims against companies and business organizations including retailers, marketers and manufacturers.
Often, we come across situations where a particular company make various promises in order to sell products but seldom fail to keep such promises. For example, x purchases a mixer grinder from M/s Y & Co. operating in the same town. The grinder malfunctions within the warranty period of 1 year. Both the manufacturer and the seller failed to rectify mixer grinder.
To tackle such day to day problems which a consumer suffers, Consumer Rights were created to protect the rights of the consumers. The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted to ensure speedy redressal of consumer grievances.
In order to ensure protection and promotion of consumers, a three tier quasi judicial machinery was enacted at the national, state and district level. The National Commission deals with complaints involving costs higher than INR 1 crore. Similarly, the State Commission and the District Forum deals with complaints involving costs between INR 20 lakhs and INR 1 crore and less than INR 20 lakhs, respectively. The consumers can file cases depending upon the cost along with the documents required for filing the complaint.
The Consumer Courts may seem to be quasi-judicial Tribunals, however every order made by the District Forum, State Commission or National Commission is enforced like a decree of the Court. The order passed shall be binding on all the parties. If any such person fails to comply with the order passed by the District Forum, State Commission or National Commission,then he may be punished with
- Imprisonment from 1 month to 3 years;
- Fine raging between INR 2000 to INR 10000;
- Or both.