Consumer Protection Bill: You may land up in jail for cheating your customer; here is how

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New Delhi | Published: January 6, 2018 1:19:42 PM

It is the new consumer protection bill that will make sure that there is no discrepancy in the dealings between the manufacturer and consumer.

Consumer Protection Bill, Consumer Protection Bill 2017, faulty products, misleading ads, online sales, Consumer Protection Bill lok sabhaIt is the new consumer protection bill that will make sure that there is no discrepancy in the dealings between the manufacturer and consumer.

You might be in trouble if you are cheating your customer with faulty products or misleading ads. Yes! And it is the new consumer protection bill that will make sure that there is no discrepancy in the dealings between the manufacturer and consumer. The bill that was tabled in the Lok Sabha seeks to enforce strict provisions to protect consumers by regulation of online sales, e-commerce, direct selling, tele-marketing and misleading ads.

The Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 was introduced by Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan in the Lower House and it seeks to replace the 31-year-old law. The Bill has strong provisions to check adulteration and misleading ads and also provides for fine up to Rs 50 lakh and jail up to 5 years for manufacturers and service providers for false and misleading ads. Against adulteration, the Bill has provisions for fine up to Rs 10 lakh and life term imprisonment. The objective of the Bill is to “provide for protection of interest of consumers and for the said purpose to establish authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumer disputes…”

The Bill aims to set up an executive agency ‘Central Consumer Protection Authority’ (CCPA) to make intervention when necessary to prevent consumer detriment arising from unfair trade practice and to initiate class action including enforcing recall, refund and return of products. “This fills an institutional void in the regulatory regime extant. Currently, the task of prevention of or acting against unfair trade practices is not vested in any authority,” the bill said.

The government has introduced possible penalties for manufacturers engaging in any unscrupulous activity. The Bill prescribes forced recalls, class action suit in case of services if faults in products is detected. Similarly, for misleading adverstisements, celebrities endorsing misleading ads will have to pay penalty of up to Rs 50 lakh and serve a ban of up to three years once the new Consumer Protection Bill is cleared by Parliament. If the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), proposed to be set up under the bill, is satisfied that an advertisement is false or misleading, it may issue directions to endorsers, advertiser, publisher as well traders and manufacturers to discontinue or modify such an ad.

The CCPA will have the powers to impose penalty of up to Rs 10 lakh on endorsers and manufacturers. For subsequent violation, the penalty will be of up to Rs 50 lakh. The authority will also have the power ban endorser of false or misleading ads from making endorsement of any product or service for a period of one year, while subsequent violation will attract a ban of up to three years.

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