What are the Consumer Rights in India?

What are the Consumer Rights in India?

Date : 15 Jul, 2021

Post By Advocate Neeraj Sansaniwal

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is replaced by the consumer protection act, 2019. The consumer protection act 2019 has been enacted with a view to broaden the scope of consumer rights and to include the field of e-commerce, direct selling, teleshopping, and other multi-levels of marketing in the digital age. This act came into force in 2020. The main purpose of the consumer protection act is to provide better protection to consumers and establish a strong mechanism for the settlement of consumer disputes and revamping the settlement and administration process by imposing strict penalties.

Definition of consumer – According to section 2(7) of the 2019 act, “A consumer is defined as any person who “buys any goods” and “hires or avails any service” for consideration but it does not include a person who obtains goods for resale or goods or service for commercial purpose. It includes transactions through all modes consisting offline or online through electronic means, multi-level marketing teleshopping, or direct selling. Online transactions are an exclusive feature of this act and added keeping in mind the growing e-commerce business and advancement in technology.

What are Consumer Rights?

As per the Consumer Protection act 2019, the definition of consumer rights is 'the right to have information about different aspects of a good or service such as its quality, quantity, potency, purity, price, and standard.

Consumers have six main rights under the act, which are as follows:

Right to safety - Every consumer has the right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services that is hazardous for life and property. This is applicable to specific areas like pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and food processing, this right is spread across the domain having a serious implication on the health of consumers or their well-being viz. housing, automobiles, travel, domestic appliances, etc. It includes concern for consumer’s long-term interests as well as for their present requirement. Consumers should insist on product quality as well as product and service guarantees before making a purchase. They should preferably buy quality marked products such as ISI, AGMARK.

Sometimes the manufacturing problems in products such as pressure cookers, gas cylinders, and other electrical appliances may result in loss of life, health, and property of customers.

Consult the best lawyer online

Right to Information: According to this, the consumer has the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, purity, standard, and price of goods or services so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices. Consumers should insist on receiving all the information about the product or service before making any choice or a decision. This will enable him to act responsibly and wisely and also prevent them from falling prey to high-pressure selling techniques.

Right to choose: Every consumer has the right to choose the goods or services of his or her likings. The right to choose means an assurance of ability, availability, and access to a variety of products and services at a competitive or fair price. The Consumer should not be forced to purchase a particular brand by the producer or supplier or retailer. They should be free to choose suitable products from their point of view.

This right can be better exercised in a competitive market where a wide range of goods is available at competitive prices.

Right to be Heard or Right to Representation: The consumer has the right to represent him or to be heard or the right to advocate his interest. If a consumer has been exploited or has a complaint against any product or service then he/she has the right to be heard and be assured that his/her interest will receive due consideration.

This right also includes the right to be represented in several forums formed to consider the welfare of consumers. The consumers must be form non-political and non-commercial consumer organizations that can be given representation in several committees made by the government and other bodies. Under this right, the companies must have complaint cells to deal with the complaints of customers.

Right to Consumer Education: it is the right of the consumer to acquire the knowledge and skills in order to be an informed consumer. Consumer ignorance, particularly among rural consumers, is mainly responsible for their exploitation. They should be aware of their rights and must exercise them. It is difficult for illiterate consumers to understand the law and this right ensures that illiterate consumers can seek information about the existing acts and agencies are set up for their protection.

The Indian government has included consumer education in the school curriculum and in several university courses. The government is also making use of the media to make the consumers aware of their rights and make use of their money wisely.

Right to seek redressal: It means the consumer has the right to get compensation or seek redressal against any unfair trade practices or other exploitation. This right assures justice to consumers against any exploitation. It also includes compensation in the form of money, replacement of goods, or repair of defects in the goods as per the consumer’s satisfaction. Several redressal forums are set up by the government at the state and national levels.

The Consumer disputes redressal agencies (popularly known as Consumer Forums or Consumer Courts) are incorporated at District, State, and National levels with the help of the consumer protection act to provide simple and inexpensive quick redressal of consumer complaints. These consumer grievance redressal agencies have fiduciary as well as geographic jurisdictions which address consumer cases between business and consumers. 

These rights form the base of consumer protection in India. The Consumer Protection Act 2019 also introduced five additionally new consumer rights:

Right to seek compensation under product liability A complainant can file a case against the seller or manufacturer of a product for any loss caused to them as a result of a defective product, which includes all services. The manufacturer or the seller will be held liable if there is a manufacturing defect or the product does not conform to the stated guarantee. This provision brings e-commerce under its ambit.

Right to file a complaint from anywhere – Consumers can now file a complaint with the District Consumer Commission or the State Consumer Commission from anywhere, including their homes, offices, or while on a weekend trip. It will reduce the harassment of consumers to a great extent.

Right to seek a hearing using video conferencing – According to this, any complaint will be presented before the district committee on the basis of an affidavit and documentary evidence placed before it. The commission can allow for this provision if an application has been forwarded by a consumer for a video conference hearing.

Right to know why a complaint was rejected – No commission can reject a complaint without hearing the complainant. In fact, the commission must decide about admitting or rejecting a complaint within 21 days, by which if it is not decided then the complaint is deemed as having been admitted.

Right to protect consumers as a class – If one has a complaint that is related to violation of consumer rights or unfair trade practices or misleading advertisements that are prejudicial to the interests of consumers as a class then you can forward the complaint in writing or in electronic mode to the district collector or commissioner of regional office or the CCPA (central consumer protection authority) for a class action.

Get in touch with the best lawyer now

Consumer Dispute Redressal Forums

Territorial Jurisdiction: A complainant can now file a complaint to the place where he resides or works. The repealed Act only allowed the complainant to file a complaint where the opposite party carries out business or resides. This caused a lot of difficulties to the complainants.

Pecuniary Jurisdiction: The pecuniary jurisdiction will now be determined on the basis of the consideration paid for the value of goods purchased and services availed, rather than the compensation claimed according to the repealed Act of 1986. The 2019 act increased the pecuniary jurisdiction limit for the various commissions. The district commission will now handle cases up to Rs 1 crore, up from Rs 20 lakhs as per the repealed Act. The State commission’s jurisdiction limit has been fixed between Rs 1 crore to Rs. 10 Crores and the National commission will deal with cases of Rs 10 Crores or more.

Comment on Blog

Get Free Response


Consult a Lawyer Now