Indulging in unfair trade practices

06/10/2019

Unfair trade practice broadly refers to the fraudulent practices like misrepresentation, deceptive practices etc. that have been prohibited by the statutes and various laws of the country and becomes actionable under the court of law. The impacts of Unfair Trade Practices on business and in addition economy lead to a circumstance where open mindfulness/seeing about the issue is low, customers are deceived, little organizations are dealt with unjustifiably, general welfare of the general public crumbles. The growth of the concept of unfair trade practice from the definitions given in the Monopolistic and Restrictive Trade Practice Act to its evolvement to the definition given in the Consumer Protection Act. Those who are deceiving the consumers by indulging in unfair trade practices are all set to face tough action as the Central Law, which will be applicable to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh from November 1, 2019 onwards, has several stringent provisions to protect the rights of the consumers. As per the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir State Reorganization Act, 2019, which was passed by the Parliament early last month, the Jammu and Kashmir Consumer Protection Act, 1987 will be replaced by the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 passed by the Parliament last month. Under the J&K Consumer Protection Act, the complainant means a consumer or any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act, 2956 or the Government who makes a complaint. But under the Central Act, the definition of complainant is vast. Moreover, as per the provisions of the Central Law, in case of death of a consumer, his or her legal heir or legal representative or in case of a consumer being minor, his or her parents or legal guardian can be the complainant.
Unlike State Act, even the definition of misleading advertisement under the Central Law is vast and it means an advertisement which falsely describes such product or service or gives a false guarantee to or is likely to mislead the consumers as to nature, substance, quantity or quality of such product or service or conveys an express or implied representation, which if made by the manufacturer or seller or service provider, would constitute an unfair trade practice. Though State Act is not elaborative about product liability and action yet the Central Law states that product manufacturer or product seller is liable to compensate for any harm caused to a consumer by defective product and a complaint can be filed by a person before the District Commission or State Commission or National Commission for claiming compensation for the harm caused by product manufacturer. In the State Act, there was no provision of mediation but the Central Act makes it mandatory for establishment of Consumer Mediation Cell in each District Commission and the State Commission. Moreover, each Consumer Mediation Cell will submit a quarterly report to the District Commission, State Commission or the National Commission about the cases settled through mediation.

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