19 August 2019

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Differences between Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and Consumer Protection Act, 2019


The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted to provide for better protection of the interests of consumers and for the purpose of making provision for establishment of consumer protection councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumer disputes, etc. Although, the working of the consumer dispute redressal agencies has served the purpose to a considerable extent under the said Act, the disposal of cases has not been fast due to various constraints. Several shortcomings have been noticed while administering the various provisions of the said Act.

In the meantime, the Consumer markets for goods and services have undergone drastic transformation. The modern market place contains a plethora of products and services. The emergence of global supply chains, rise in international trade and the rapid development of e-commerce have led to new delivery systems for goods and services and have provided new options and opportunities for consumers. Equally, this has rendered the consumer vulnerable to new forms of unfair trade and unethical business practices. Misleading advertisements, tele-marketing, multi-level marketing, direct selling and e-commerce pose new challenges to consumer protection and will require appropriate and swift executive interventions to prevent consumer detriment. Therefore, it has become inevitable to amend the Act to address the myriad and constantly emerging vulnerabilities of the consumers.

So in order to widening the scope of the legislation and to meet the newly emerged challenges, the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, has been enacted. The Act provides for the establishment of an executive agency to be known as the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers; make interventions when necessary to prevent consumer detriment arising from unfair trade practices and to initiate class action including enforcing recall, refund and return of products, etc. The Act also envisages provisions for product liability action on account of harm caused to consumers due to a defective product or by deficiency in services. Further, provision of "Mediation" as an Alternate Dispute Resolution Mechanism has also been provided.

For better understanding of the same, we are providing the comparison between the major provisions of old Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and newly enacted Consumer Protection Act, 2019.



Consumer Protection Act, 1986

Consumer Protection Act, 2019


Ambit of law

All goods and services for consideration, while free and personal services are excluded

All goods and services, including telecom and housing construction, and all modes of transactions (online, teleshopping, etc.) for consideration. Free and personal services are excluded


Unfair trade practices (Defined as deceptive practices to promote the sale, use or supply of a good or service)

Includes six types of such practices, like false representation, misleading advertisements

The new Act adds three types of practices to the list, namely:

(i) failure to issue a bill or receipt;

(ii) refusal to accept a good returned within 30 days; and

(iii) disclosure of personal information given in confidence, unless required by law or in public interest. Contests/ lotteries may be notified as not falling under the ambit of unfair trade practices.



Product liability

No Provision

Claim for product liability can be made against manufacturer, service provider, and seller. Compensation can be obtained by proving one of the several specified conditions in the Act.


Unfair contracts

No Provision

Defined as contracts that cause significant change in consumer rights. Lists six contract terms which may be held as unfair.


Central Protection Councils (CPCs)

CPCs promote and protect the rights of consumers. They are established at the district, state, and national level.

The new Act makes CPCs advisory bodies for promotion and protection of consumer rights. Establishes CPCs at the District, State and National Level.



No Provision

Establishes the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect, and enforce the rights of consumers as a class.


CCPA may:

(i) issue safety notices;

(ii) pass orders to recall goods, prevent unfair practices, and reimburse purchase price paid; and

(iii) impose penalties for false and misleading advertisements.



Pecuniary jurisdiction of Commissions

District: Up to Rs 20 lakh; State: Between Rs 20 lakh and up to Rs one crore;

National:  Above Rs one crore.

District: Up to Rs one crore; State: Between Rs one crore and up to Rs 10 crore;

National:  above Rs 10 crore.


Composition of Commissions

District: Headed by current or former District Judge and two members.

State:  Headed by a current or former High Court Judge and at least two members.

National:  Headed by a current or former Supreme Court Judge and at least four members.

District:  Headed by a president and at least two members.

State:  Headed by a president and at least four members.

National:  Headed by a president and at least four members



Selection Committee (comprising a judicial member and other officials) will recommend members on the Commissions.

No provision for Selection Committee.  Central Government will appoint through notification.



Alternate dispute redressal mechanism

No Provision

Mediation cells will be attached to the District, State, and National Commissions



If a person does not comply with orders of the Commissions, he may face imprisonment between one month and three years or fine between Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000, or both.

 If a person does not comply with orders of the Commissions, he may face imprisonment up to three years, or a fine not less than Rs 25,000 extendable to Rs one lakh, or both.




No Provision

Defines direct selling, e-commerce and electronic service provider. The central government may prescribe rules for preventing unfair trade practices in e-commerce and direct selling.

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