Consumer - QnA

Q: Who is a Consumer, under The Consumer Protection Act, 1986?

Ans: Section 2(d) of the Consumer Protection Act defines that consumer means any person who:

  1. Buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, and includes any user of such goods other than the person who buys such goods for consideration paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment when such use is made with the approval of such person, but does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or for any commercial purpose; OR
  2. Hires or avails of any services for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, and includes any beneficiary of such services other than the person who hires or avails of the services for consideration paid or promised, or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, when such services are availed of with the approval of the first mentioned person.

Any person who obtains the goods for ‘resale’ or commercial purposes’ is not a consumer

A Person Buying Goods For Self Employment Is A Consumer - When goods are bought for commercial purposes
and such purchase satisfy the following criteria:

  • the goods are used by the buyer himself
  • exclusively for the purpose of earning his livelihood
  • by means of self-employment


Then such use would not be termed as use for commercial purposes under the Act, and the user is declared as a “consumer”.


Q. What are his/her Rights?

Ans: Section 2(1)(r) of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986, guarantees the following rights to a consumer:

The consumers councils established under the Act inter alia seek to promote and protect the rights of consumers such as:

  1. The right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property: It is the duty of the manufacturers and the distributor not to supply any goods to the consumers which fails to comply with the general safety requirements and to make sure that the safety standards are maintained.
  2. The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services, as the case may be, so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices; to save the consumers from unfair trade practices like false and misleading descriptions about the nature and quality of goods, exaggerated statements about their power or potency the consumer can file complaint in the Consumer Forum. Whereas normal buyers or traders for their complaint will need to go to the Monopolies Commission under MRTP Act.
  3. The right to be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices.
  4. The right to be heard and to be assured that consumer's interest will receive due consideration at an appropriate forums; Right to be heard is an important right of consumers and the Central Council has been assigned this responsibility to make sure that the consumers will receive due attention and consideration from such forums.
  5. The right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers; The consumers have been given the right to seek redress against restrictive/unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation.
  6. The right to consumer education. The Central Council has been assigned the responsibility to provide to the people proper education in terms of their remedies under the Act. By spreading awareness about their rights under the Act.


Q. What is Deficiency is service to a Consumer?

Ans: Section 2(1)(g) of the 1986 Act defines deficiency as “any fault, imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature and manner of performance which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or has been undertaken to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any service”.

The term deficiency is service has varied meaning for example if tour operator is cancelling or amending his tour timings without due notice than the same amounts to deficiency in service.

Similarly if the builder is delaying his project and the possession is delayed beyond the contractual date than that amount of deficiency in service by the builder.

Similarly if the Builder is not forming a Cooperative housing society within 4 months of more than 60% of booking of the flats or obtaining completion certificate, than that amounts to deficiency in service by the builder.

 

Q. When can a Consumer file a complaint?

Ans: Upon violation of his rights a consumer can file a consumer complaint to an appropriate forum based on the value of the compensation he is seeking for:

  1. That the goods purchased by him are found to be defective and the vendor refused to provide remedial services.
  2. That the services hired or availed are deficient.
  3. That the trader adopts unfair or restrictive trade practices. For example: hoarding of goods or refusal to sell to customers without genuine reasons; misrepresentation relating to the quality of the goods or services sold.
  4. That the price is charged more than the MRP.


Prior to filing a complaint a written notice to by the consumer or his representative/advocate should be issued seeking remedy or compensation as the case may be.


Q. What is the procedure to file a complaint?

Ans. The complaint can either be filed personally or through an authorized agent or by a consumer association / NGO at an appropriate District Forum / State Commission or Central Commission.

The complaint should contain the following information:

Consumer’s name, description and the address.

  1. The name and address of the opposite party / parties.
  2. The facts relating to complaint and when and where the cause of action arose.
  3. Documents, if any, in support of the allegations contained in the complaint. (Copy of the invoice, receipt, warranty card, correspondence / complaints made in writing).
  4. The relief (compensation) that is sought.


There should be 4 copies of the complaint on plain paper plus a copy each for the opposite party.

A stamp paper is not required but you must sign the complaint papers.

An affidavit needs to be submitted affirming that the complaint is true to the best of your knowledge and belief.

A written notice should be served to opposite party by hand deliver/ Registered post AD / Courier seeking remedy or compensation from the opposite party with reasonable time (say 2 weeks) to get the deficiency in service redressed.  Upon failure you are free to file your complaint with Consumer Forum.

 

Q. Is Flat buyer a Consumer?

Ans. Certainly a flat buyer is a consumer under Section 2(d) I & II of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 and for any deficiency in service by the builder the Flat buyer can take him to appropriate consumer forum.