Article explains the word ‘Consumer’ under Consumer Protection Act, 2019 & under Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and safeguard provided to the Consumer under these regulations.

Comparison of the definition of the word “Consumer” provided in the new enactment of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and the old legislation Consumer Protection Act, 1986? The safeguard provided to the Consumer under the said Legislation.

Abstract

The Author of this article will attempt to compare the word “Consumer” as defined under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, and the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. The Author will explain Q&A regarding the definition and further divide the section into 2 parts.  Further, the Author will mention the safeguards provided by the legislation under the said enactment to the Consumer.

Introduction

The definition of the “Consumer” provided under the new and old legislation is more or less the same.  The legislature has added the explanation for e-commerce as the time are changing and any person by the click of a button is availing the services at their doorstep. Therefore, to safeguard the interest of the Consumer the legislature has included the explanation. It is pertinent to note that over the year the jurisprudence developed by the Tribunals and the Court will provide the help to interpret the section as the language used is more or less the same. The legislature has added “The expressions “buys and goods” and “hires or avails any services” include offline or online transactions through electronic means or by teleshopping or direct selling or multi-level marketing.” I have reproduced both the sections hereinbelow: –

Definition The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 The Consumer Protection Act, 1986
Section (2) 7 “consumer” means any person who –

(i) 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

(ii) 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 service 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, but does not include a person who avails of such service for any commercial purpose.

Explanation: For the purpose of this clause

(a)  The expression “commercial purpose” does not include use by a person of goods bought and used by him exclusively for the purpose of earning his livelihood, by means of self-employment;

(b)  The expressions “buys and goods” and “hires or avails any services” includes offline or online transactions through electronic means or by teleshopping or direct selling or multi-level marketing.

Section 2 (d) “consumer” means any person who

(i) Buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid or 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 partl 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

(ii) (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 [but does not include a person who avails of such services for any commercial purpose.]

Explanation: For the purpose of this clause, “commercial purpose” does not include use by a person of goods bought and used by him and service availed by him exclusively for the purpose of earning his livelihood, by means of self-employment;]

Question and Answer

Who is a Consumer as per section 2 (7) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 for goods?

As per section 2 (7) (i) consumer means any person who- 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.

As per section 2 (21) “goods” means every kind of movable property and includes “food” as defined in clause (j) of subsection (1) of section 3 of the Foods Safety and Standard Act, 2006 (34 of 2006)

2. Who is a Consumer as per section 2 (7) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 for services?

As per section 2 (7) (ii) hires or avails of any service 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.

As per section 2 (42), the services are defined – “service” means service of any description which is made available to potential users and includes, but not limited to, the provisions of facilities in connection with banking, financing, insurance, transport, processing, supply of electrical or other energy, telecom, boarding or lodging or both, housing construction, entertainment, amusement or the purveying of news or other information but does not include the rendering of any service free of charge or under a contract of person service;

As per section 2 (17) electronic service provider means a person who provides technologies or processes to enable a product seller to engage in advertising or selling goods or services to a consumer and includes any online market place or online auctions sites;

3. Who is “any person” as defined under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019?

As per section 2 (31)

“person”: includes

  • An individual
  • A firm whether registered or not;
  • A hindu undivided family;
  • A co-operative society;
  • An association of person whether registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (21 of 1860 ) or not;
  • Any corporation, company or a body of individuals whether incorporated or not;
  • Any artificial juridical person, not falling within any of the preceding sub-clauses;

Comparison of word Consumer under Consumer Protection Act, 2019 & Consumer Protection Act, 1986

4. What are the safeguards provided under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 for Consumers?

1. Protection against harm or injury;

2. Protection against the misleading advertisement;

3. Protection against the restrictive trade practice;

4. Protection against unfair contract;

5. Protection against unfair trade practices; and

6. Protection against the deficiency of service etc.

5. What is a deficiency of service?

As per section 2 (11) deficiency means any fault, imperfections, shortcomings 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 and includes-

  • Any act of negligence or omission or commission by such person which causes loss or injury to the consumer; and
  • Deliberate withholding of relevant information by such person to the consumer;

Conclusion

This piece of legislation is very progressive as protects the interest of the Consumers. However, it also provides benefits to the manufacturers, sellers, and service providers. As it will help the manufacturer or the service providers to improve the services as the case may be. One cannot survive without the other. Therefore, the interest of both parties should be protected. The consumer wishes to get the best result for the price it pays to purchase the goods or services. Whereas the manufacturer, retailer, or service provider wants to maximize the revenue. Through this legislation, the interest of the Consumer is protected such as unfair trade practices, deficiency of service, unfair contract, etc.

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The author of this article can be reached at dachambersconnect@outlook.com for any discussion or clarification. Please free to drop a mail.

Disclaimer – This is solely for informational purposes/ knowledge sharing and this information should not be considered as legal, professional advice, service, advertisement, or solicitation in any manner whatsoever. Deepanshu Arora further assumes no liability for the interpretation and/or use of the information contained in this post, nor does it offer a warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. The contents of the information are provided “as is”, with no guarantees of genuineness, completeness, accuracy, or timeliness, and without representations, warranties, or other contractual terms of any kind, express or implied. The intellectual property right of this document rest with the Author and the same can’t be used for any commercial purpose without taking the written consent of the Author.  Please consult a professional for advice before making any decision w.r.t to the contents of the information.

[1] Deepanshu Arora

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