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Old 21st July 2010, 11:01   #1
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Default Government Mulls new Consumer Protection Laws !

NEW DELHI: If a shopkeeper doesn't give you a bill for your purchase, you may soon be able to take him to court. At the same time, anything and everything you buy can be challenged legally if it is found to be of poor quality. A product need not be "hazardous" at the beginning to be "unsafe" later. Most importantly, consumers will be able to receive extra money from consumer fora in case of protracted litigation.

The central government is mulling a clutch of amendments to Consumer Protection Act, 1986, to empower consumers and to inject transparency in the three-tier consumer protection fora at the district, state and national level.

If accepted, the Act will make a shopkeeper not issuing cash memo or bills for goods sold as guilty under the law. The possession of bill makes a consumer a "bonafide" customer and its absence robs him of a stronger footing in courts if he challenges a sale. It will henceforth be dubbed an "unfair trade practice".

The most consequential change may be the widening of the definition of "defect" and "deficiency". While the Act clubs a few shortcomings in a product to qualify as "defect", it is proposed to keep the definition open-ended -- by replacing "means" which follows the spelt-out defects with "includes" -- to qualify any unspecified flaw as defect.

The seller will in future have to give the buyer every bit of information about a commodity. It is proposed that withholding information about a good, which can influence the choice of a customer, should be treated as an offence.

The definition of "unfair trade practice" is to be expanded to include the unforeseen modus operandi of traders as offences. It will allow the law to not specify every unfair practice in the law.

The changes also seek to bring transparency in consumer courts with regard to selection of presiding officers, filing of cases and discharge of justice.

Consumers will be able to file "cases online" in what is an attempt to empower them.

A key proposal says that presidents or members in consumer fora should be barred from pleading before them. This includes those who either held office in these fora or wielded administrative control there. It is an attempt to stop any unfair clout to be pedalled in the courts.

The Act seeks to empower consumer courts to award "interest" to compensate consumers who suffer from prolonged court battles.

State commissions are to be given more power to be able to renew their own orders if they notice factual mistakes in the records. The powers of judicial magistrate first class will be more explicit under the Act.

The quasi-judicial three-tier consumer disputes redressal machinery -- national, state and district -- have seen around 34 lakh cases filed till April 2010, of which 30 lakh have been disposed of. The rate of disposal has been around 89%.

Govt mulls more power to consumers - India - The Times of India


Apologies if this isnt in the right section, please move. Cant help but glee in terms of its usefulness vis a vis purchasing motors.
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Old 21st July 2010, 11:13   #2
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Thank you for the information- It is really good from Consumer angle.

Thanks & Regards
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Old 21st July 2010, 11:53   #3
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Customer is going to be king if it gets implemented. I am hoping to see this law in place asap and there will be quicker resolution to these cases and not like normal jurisdiction system which takes ages to provide justice.
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Old 21st July 2010, 15:35   #4
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Let's hope the government does more than 'mull over it'.
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Old 21st July 2010, 18:52   #5
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warhound View Post
NEW DELHI: If a shopkeeper doesn't give you a bill for your purchase, you may soon be able to take him to court.
I am a retail seller and need not / do not put any customer information in my bills.

A customer can just throw away a bill and claim that I have not given a bill.

How do I prove that I have given a customer bill for goods sold to him?
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Old 21st July 2010, 19:13   #6
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Retailers sometimes dont give bills to customers to avoid service tax/VAT. Is that true?
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Old 21st July 2010, 19:34   #7
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brix View Post
Retailers sometimes dont give bills to customers to avoid service tax/VAT. Is that true?
Right now, out state law says that a retailer need not give bill for a value less than Rs 100.

People do resort to unscrupulous practices to avoid paying taxes.
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Old 21st July 2010, 20:20   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trrk View Post
Hi,



I am a retail seller and need not / do not put any customer information in my bills.

A customer can just throw away a bill and claim that I have not given a bill.

How do I prove that I have given a customer bill for goods sold to him?
I think keeping a copy/counterfoil of all bills/transaction will be good enough. much better if you can have a facility to issue duplicate bills (with same old bill number).
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Old 21st July 2010, 21:41   #9
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these are just on papers.

Recall the case of a poor bhpian who own a Victa, won the case against a Bangalore TATA dealer in SC, but I think still his problem is not solved.
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Old 21st July 2010, 21:58   #10
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High time this gets done. I am already fighting with Airtel currently who are refusing to provide a broadband connection citing technical reasons in spite of confirming technical feasibility at the time of accepting the application & cheque. My suscpicion is they later found out that some 100m digging has to be done to lay the required cables and/or install new equipment since the with the existing ones no free port is avlbl - this being an expensive excercise, particulalrly if I am the only applicant from this area, they are trying to avoid the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trrk View Post
Hi,

I am a retail seller and need not / do not put any customer information in my bills.

A customer can just throw away a bill and claim that I have not given a bill.

How do I prove that I have given a customer bill for goods sold to him?
I am sure under any sensible law, this type of scenario will put the onus on the customer...if he/she doesnt have the proof of purchase, he/she cannot complain/dispute or go legal...it should be as simple as that.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 13:02   #11
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
I think keeping a copy/counterfoil of all bills/transaction will be good enough. much better if you can have a facility to issue duplicate bills (with same old bill number).
By law we need to keep a copy of all bills issued. But that was not the point I was raising.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanjayc View Post
I am sure under any sensible law, this type of scenario will put the onus on the customer...if he/she doesnt have the proof of purchase, he/she cannot complain/dispute or go legal...it should be as simple as that.
Sorry, you did not get the point. Please see what I have quoted in my post. Somebody can take me to court if I don't give them a bill.

So the question remains, how do i prove that I indeed gave him a bill and he claims that I have not?

Of course without a bill he / she cannot go to consumer courts.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 13:58   #12
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All legislation is fine. It will be useless unless and until we throw out the current judicial system, and bring in a new one. A mere overhaul will not do.

If I am a cheat and know the case will take three decades then why should I care. I saw a recent article that that the court backlog is over 100 years.

I do remember that in one state the CJ (he was never elevated to Delhi) cracked the whip, and got the delay in lower courts down to a year. The result was a marked reduction in litigation. A new issue came up, in one district the number of cases dropped to a point where they were looking at reducing the number of judges. The local netas were up in arms as this meant downgrading of the district.

I wish if the SCI orders that states withdraw, say, 50% of their appeals (since more than that number are frivolous) within six months, it will be a good start.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 15:32   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trrk View Post
So the question remains, how do i prove that I indeed gave him a bill and he claims that I have not?

Of course without a bill he / she cannot go to consumer courts.
I do get your point...

There are various methods on how you can retain proof that bill has been issued for items sold(like counter signature on duplicate invoices/delivery challans etc).

Someone just cannot claim out of the blue that you have not provided the bill...they have to substantiate the claim with proof - the onus lies on the customer to ensure bill is collected at the time of purchase..in case the seller is NOT providing the bill, NOT paying is the customers option. What is so complicated about it?

Complication arises when a shop refuses to issue bills for all sales- in that case, customer can walk away from the shop somewhere else...risk of losing business is deterrent enough for shops to follow the law.

Last edited by sanjayc : 22nd July 2010 at 15:33.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 12:55   #14
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanjayc View Post
There are various methods on how you can retain proof that bill has been issued for items sold(like counter signature on duplicate invoices/delivery challans etc).
That is a way, but in our trade where the bills run into hundreds and then a signature can be refuted at any time since we do not know that it is a genuine signature of person involved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanjayc View Post
Someone just cannot claim out of the blue that you have not provided the bill...they have to substantiate the claim with proof -
How can they substantiate the claim with proof? What proof unless they arrange for a sting?

These laws are fair when the customers also play fairly.

I have had a consumer court case (won at the state level, the complainant never bothered to attend at the state level), the expenses of which was around Rs 26000 over three years. All for a sari worth Rs 265. The bill was there from our shop, only hitch was that the sari was not from our shop. Local level consumer court went against us, in spite of providing evidence.
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