New Delhi [India], July 26 (ANI): After completing two years of its establishment on July 24, the Central Consumer Protection Authority on Tuesday issued as many as 129 notices, of which 71 were for misleading, 49 for unfair trade practices, and nine for the violation of consumer rights.
Chief Commissioner of CCPA, Nidhi Khare informed the media persons that the notices have been issued with the intent to initiate a country-wide campaign to prevent the sale of spurious and counterfeit goods that violate the Quality Control Orders (QCOs) published by the Central Government and to raise awareness and consciousness among consumers to purchase goods that conform to BIS Standards.
According to an official statement by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, the first Safety Notice was issued with regard to Helmets, Pressure Cookers and Cooking gas cylinders and the second Safety Notice was issued with regard to household goods including electric immersion water heaters, sewing machines, microwave ovens, domestic gas stoves with LPG etc.
Khare also informed that the safety notices were issued to alert the consumers against buying household goods which do not have valid ISI marks, like the electric immersion water heaters, sewing machine, aluminium foil for food packaging etc. Violation of compulsory standards for such goods endangers public safety putting consumers at the risk of suffering severe harm or injury, she said.
In furtherance of the campaign, she also took suo-moto cognizance against e-commerce entities found to be selling Pressure Cookers in violation of the Domestic Pressure Cooker (Quality Control) Order, 2020 issued by the Central Government under Section 16 (1) of the BIS Act, 2016 on 21 January 2020.
Notably, the power of CCPA to take Class action is a unique feature that was not present in the previous Consumer Protection Act, of 1986. Before the 2019 Act, there was no mechanism to deal with issues of unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements which impacted consumers as a class.
As a result, such practices continued unrestrained, without any accountability. The establishment of CCPA, with powers to pass orders of discontinuation of practices that are unfair and prejudicial to consumers' interests and impose penalties in case of false or misleading advertisements is another means of relief to the consumers apart from approaching the commissions.
CCPA through class action protects the right of the consumers even the sleeping consumers who are unaware of their rights.
The CCPA suo moto took cognizance and issued notices to the companies who, with their misleading advertisements, gave rise to fear in the hearts of consumers after the Coronavirus pandemic broke out in 2020.
As an aftermath of these actions undertaken by the CCPA, 15 companies have withdrawn their advertisements, while three others made corrective advertisements.
Besides ordering the advertisement discontinuation, along with the penalty of Rs 10 lakh to Sensodyne for making claims for "Recommended by dentists worldwide", the CCPA also issued to discontinue the ads showing endorsements by foreign dentists.
Khare also informed that it also directed discontinuation and issued a penalty of the same amount to an eye-care brand, namely Sure Vision for making false and misleading claims.
It also issued notice to a home shopping channel-- Naaptol for making false claims regarding their product without any scientific credibility and reports about its several products.
To protect the consumers on e-commerce websites, it has issued an advisory to all the e-commerce marketplace places to disclose the details of the seller and complete details of the product being sold on such websites.
The CCPA is also working to develop a framework to check fake reviews on E-Commerce websites. For this, a Committee involving all the stakeholders has been constituted. In his regard, the CCPA has imposed a penalty of Rs 1 lakh on Paytm Mall for listing pressure cookers on its platform despite the product not conforming to compulsory BIS standards.
It also issued notice to Ola and Uber for the violation of consumer rights and unfair trade practices. In addition, the issues like lack of proper consumer grievance redressal mechanism, deficiency in service, unreasonable levy of cancellation charges and fairness of algorithm used to charge fares, were among major issues raised by CCPA.
Further, guidelines on Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022 were also issued. The guidelines seek to ensure that consumers are not being fooled by unsubstantiated claims, exaggerated promises, misinformation, and false claims.
Compulsory payment of the Service Charge is one of the major issues faced by the consumers on which the CCPA has issued Guidelines on Service Charge making it to be paid voluntarily/optional by the consumer. The CCPA also keeps its focus on the health of the consumers; in this regard, an advisory to e-commerce entities is issued by the authority for stopping the sale of Ayurvedic, Siddha, and Unani drugs without a valid prescription of a registered Ayurveda, Siddha, or Unani practitioner.
An advisory on the wireless jammers is also a stone turned in the way of consumer protection the e-commerce platforms are hereby advised to refrain from selling or facilitating the sale of any kind of wireless jammers, the CCPA said.
The CCPA in keeping with Prime Minister Narender Modi's LiFE movement (Lifestyle for Environment) in India i.e. reduce, reuse and recycle of the products, observed that countries like the USA, the UK, and Unions like European Union have enforced the reformative law on the Right to Repair for protecting the rights of consumers and making a fair play in the market, the need was felt in India as well. All types of reuse, require, repair, and even the sustainable life of the products are dependent on it.
As a result, the authority is working towards bringing in the framework on Right to Repair so as to reduce e-waste. The "Right to Repair" concept is based on the idea that a product must be completely owned by the person who owns it in order for them to be able to repair and improve it as they see fit. Additionally, the components of products should be made available to third-party repairers.
According to the statement, the CCPA does not aim at curbing innovation or putting restrictions on the companies but works towards building such an ecosystem that promotes the business as well as protection of the consumer's rights.
CCPA has taken active steps in modernizing the legal framework on consumer protection to keep pace with the changes in markets to ensure fair, equitable, and consistent outcomes for consumers. (ANI)