Feb 23, 2022

How does the Law protect Consumers?

Have you ever been surprised by the hidden charge for a carry bag at a store? Well, you will be glad to know that this is now considered an unfair trade practice. 


The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has said that before consumers choose to buy goods from a particular retail outlet, they have a right to know that there will be an additional cost for carry bags in that retail outlet, and price of such carry bags. The NCDRC stated that it is an unfair trade practice if retail outlets charge extra for carry bags at the time of payment without giving adequate prominent prior notice to the consumer.


Which Indian law protects consumers?

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, protects consumer interests of consumers and establishes authorities for effective administration and settlement of consumers’ disputes.


Who is a consumer?

A consumer is any person who buys goods and services, as well as anyone who uses them. For instance, a person who watches a movie after buying a movie ticket is a consumer and similarly, a person who uses a gift voucher gifted from someone else  is also a consumer. 


Consumers have a right to file a complaint for any of the services or goods used by them.


Unfair trade practices 

Consumers can complain against unfair trade practices such as false statements about the goods’ standard, quality and quantity, the marketing of used/second-hand goods as new goods, false claims about a warranty, or the warranty period being scientifically untested, etc. This now includes hidden costs for carry bags at stores. 


Misleading advertisements

Consumers can sue advertisers for making misleading claims in their advertisements. A misleading advertisement says untrue things about goods and services which can mislead the consumer in  buying them, or deliberately conceal important information about the product (such as known side-effects) etc.


Defective goods

Consumers can complain against defective goods i.e., goods with any fault, imperfection or shortcoming in the quality, quantity, purity or standard required to be maintained by the seller. Some examples of defective goods are adulterated or imperfectly brewed beverages, malfunctioning machinery, misshapen artifacts, etc. 


Spurious goods

Consumers can complain against spurious goods i.e., goods which are falsely claimed to be genuine, or are fake or imitative of real, original goods. Spurious goods are often of inferior quality and infringe upon the trademarks and copyrights of legal owners of the original goods. Examples of spurious goods include medicines or cheap make-up products found in local markets. Spurious medicines are marketed under another drug’s name, or imitate/substitute another drug in a deceptive way.