We are living in the digital age which has given rise to a new era of commerce accompanied with a new set of customer expectations and requirements. The Digital age has given consumers an easy access to large variety of goods and services, better payment mechanisms and better shopping convenience. However, this growth is accompanied with challenges which has given rise to the importance of better consumer protection.
In order to combat these challenges, the Indian Parliament passed the Consumer Protection Bill 2019 on 6 August 2019. The Act came into force on 20 July 2020. The new Act has widened the definition of “consumer” as the new Act protects both the consumers in online and offline transactions. All kinds of transactions ranging from direct selling, teleshopping, multilevel marketing etc are covered under this Act.
The earlier Act did not include the e-commerce transactions which has been covered under the Consumer Protection Act 2019. The new Act provides flexibility to consumers as the consumers can now file cases electronically. Now consumers can e-file cases to the forums located in their place of residence or work. This was not possible according to the old Act as the consumers had to file cases at the place of sale or the place of the registered office of the seller.
The new Act has also made possible the hearing of cases through video conferencing. This has given rise to the ease of procedure and inconvenience of the consumers. The new Act enables mediation as an Alternate Dispute Resolution where settlement is possible and parties agree to it. The Consumer Protection Act 2019 has helped the consumers and sellers by providing better flexibility and convenience in terms of filing and hearing of cases. The new Act will prevent harassment of consumers.