First Case Study: Ranjeet Kumar, a property owner in Noida, had registered a complaint with the District Consumer Court against a contractor. His total cost was Rs 40 lakhs, thus he registered a lawsuit with the Lower Court. It took him five years to win judgment on his side. However, before he could take ownership of his ideal home and pay the charge for the postponement, the contractor filed a complaint with the State Board. Another three years have passed, and Kumar is thinking how much it would take to receive judgment.
Second Case Study: Meena Kumari, a house owner in Gurugram, filed the State Consumers Council since her apartment cost Rs 1.5 crores. Yet, she believes that her wait for judgement has been more torturous than the contractor(s) mistreatment. If the lawsuit is just about project delays and facilities not being given as promised, she wonders why it is taking so long to obtain a decision.
Third Case Study : Prarthna Sharma has been through it all, from the District Customer Council to the State Council and now the NCDRC (National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission). For her, the struggle has lasted a while. She claims it takes 7 to 8 months just to acquire a new date with the NCDRC.
Now that the administration has announced new guidelines for the Consumers Court, all three property purchasers who are stuck in long judicial processes are anxious if it will improve their luck. The modified Customer Protection Act of 2019 calls for the resolution of consumer complaints within three months when no investigation is necessary and within five months where full study is necessary.
Consumer Protection Act 2019:
After three seasons, the Consumers Protection Act of 1986 is dissolved and substituted with the Consumer Protection Act of 2019. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, was passed to broaden the range of consumer protection and to encompass the fields of e-commerce, straight sales, tele-shopping, and other non - linear and non marketing in the age of digitalization.
The Act went into effect on July 20, 2020. This statute seeks to improve the settlement and administration processes by applying harsher fines.
Consumers will be better protected as a result of more detailing.
Who is defined as a "Consumer" under the 2019 Act?
According to Section 2(7) of the 2019 Act, a consumer is any aggregation of buyers and sellers of things or receives services for compensation, including any user who does not get such services or commodities for the intention of transfer or economic use. According to the definitions clarification, the expressions "buys any things" and "hires or avails any services" encompass any online payments done through technological communications, as well as direct selling, teleshopping, and multi-level marketing. Online purchases are a unique component of this legislation that was established in response to the rising e-commerce industry and technological advancements.
The change is intended to secure the equal sharing of cases and the prompt resolution of consumer complaints. The legal community, for the most part, has applauded the action.
According to Lawyer Devesh Ratan, Sections 34, 47, and 58 of the Consumer Protection Act of 2019, accordingly, authorize the federal government to alter the financial authority of the District, State, and Central Service charges. As a result, the central government issued the Consumer Protection (jurisdiction of the District Commission, State Commission, and National Commission) Rules, 2021, which took effect on December 30, 2021. “Since the time the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 had come into force, the financial authority of the Public Councils had become a matter of great worry among litigants and attorneys.
The burden of the County and Regional Committees, which were always overloaded, had expanded dramatically. Due to the high principles established in the 2019 Act, the fundamental goal of providing quick signals in the form to clients was being thwarted. "This (reducing the financial authority of all three commissioners) is a good measure that will strengthen consumer trust in the arbitrator process," Ratan adds.
However, as seen by the preceding three case studies, the main pain issues for house purchasers are elsewhere. Real estate is unique to any other type of consumer product. It is the most expensive purchase in one(s) life, made while the product is not yet ready.
What are Unfair business practices under the 2019 Act?
Unfair commercial conduct is defined under Section 2(47) of the Customer Security Act of 2019. The term "unfair business practices" has been expanded to encompass practices such as:
- Making or selling bogus items, or engaging in fraudulent techniques in the provision of services,
- without producing a suitable cash receipt or bill for the service providers and goods supplied,
- refuse to withdrawal, return, or suspend faulty goods and services and repay the money paid for them within the timeline set in the law, or within 30 days if no such measure is included in the legislation,
- exposing the user(s) sensitive details to any other person in violation of the applicable laws
The term of unfair commercial practices under the abolished Act of 1986 did not cover online misrepresenting ads, which were introduced in the 2019 Act.
The Consumers Council and the Challenges Facing House Purchasers
● Only the judges may argue for an appropriate responsibility on each judge.
● A three-tiered quasi-judicial procedure must never be used to extend the judicial procedure.
● The majority of criticisms fall inside the Rs 50 lakh value range.
● The sum under evaluation is the entire paid price, not the overall contract price.
● Area Council verdicts should only be contested on a case-by-case situation.
The majority of client complaints in the home industry fall under the group of inexpensive home developments, with prices under Rs 50 lakhs. As noted in a previous Supreme Court decision, the purchaser benefit in this market is too weak to support protracted and costly prosecution. It is difficult for the typical buyer of a low-cost house to oppose the constructor from the District Council to the State Council.
Home purchasers argue that it is not just the longevity of the lawsuit that undermines their case, but also the fact that the contractor continues to oppose the District Committee(s) rulings in higher courts. They are also concerned that the builders may file several fake complaints against the stressed property purchasers. As a result, house sellers urge that the Government Committees follow the NCDRC(s) practice of admitting arguments to General Committee judgments on a case-by-case approach.
Additionally, the sum considered in the case must be the price of the residence, not the money payment at the time of the disagreement. In actuality, it is the contrary, and the contractor(s) contractual right to appeal the Regional Court decision remains unaffected. While the NCDRC, the National Committee does not examine each case individually to determine if assistance is necessary.
Until there is a perfect procedure in place to expedite and provide moment verdicts on client complaints, the contractor will continue to have the advantage. The Customer Security Act, as modified in 2019, appears to have been unable to remedy this problem for property sellers.