New Delhi, February 7: With the introduction of the New Consumer Protection Bill, it is seen that the officials have considered consumer rights more closely. The new bill introduces Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of the consumer. Moreover it also will vest in to investigate, recall, refund and impose penalties; provision for product liability or any damage caused by or resulting from any product.
There is also a provision enabled for mediation as an Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) making the process of dispute adjudication simpler and quicker and simplification of the process of adjudication by the Consumer Fora.
With the view to curb misleading advertisements on any platform, the officials of the Department of Consumer Affairs had started a portal called as “Grievance Against Misleading Advertisements (GAMA)” for the masses which deals with complaints pertaining to the misleading advertisements.
The Department has assigned the task of processing the complaints received through the GAMA portal to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) as per its code. Complaints received through this portal are later evaluated by ASCI and are processed through its Consumer Complaints Council. In cases where the complaints are upheld, the advertisers were informed and were asked to modify or withdraw the advertisement which intended misleading content. And in cases where the advertisers did not approve with the idea of accepting the charges, ASCI would forward their complaints to the Regulators and therefore necessary actions would be taken.
Under the preview of the complaint portal it was noticed that during the period April, 2015 to January, 2018, 6230 complaints have been received in the GAMA portal. While 1262 complaints have been rejected, 3146 complaints have been resolved, 1148 complaints have been referred to the Regulators concerned for taking further action.
The Government introduced the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 in the Lok Sabha, seeks to provide for establishment of an executive agency to be called the “Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)” to deal with unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements. The Bill authorizes the CCPA to issue directions to the concerned trader or manufacturer or endorser or advertiser or publisher to discontinue the misleading advertisement or to modify the same and to impose penalties against false or misleading advertisements. The Bill also makes provisions for imprisonment by a Court to any manufacturer or service provider who causes a false or misleading advertisement which is prejudicial to the interest of consumers.