The Consumer Protection Act of 2019 increases the ideas covered by the Act, such as product responsibility, e-commerce, and so on. The Act provides protection for the items purchased or services rendered. Services are defined in Section 2(o) of the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 and Section 2(42) of the present Act.
Any type of service that is made available to consumers for use in exchange for a fee is referred to as a service. The definition can be broken down into three sections: descriptive, inclusive, and excluding.
The descriptor states that service encompasses ‘any’ type of service that a potential consumer has used. This means that any and all types of services will be included in the term. The list of services stated in the Act makes up the inclusive component. E-commerce is now recognised as a new service under the CPA, 2019. The telecom industry was previously considered a service, but it is now specifically listed in the statute. The element that determines whether those services are hired for free or not, and whether they are for personal service or not, is the exclusionary part.
Banking is a transaction involving money, and a number of banks have been established to provide services involving money, such as cheques, loans, receiving deposits, lockers, investing, and so on. Any service given by banks is not free, and they will remove a percentage of transaction costs from your account.
As a result, the service is not free. Opening a savings account, for example, is considered a service provided by banks. The bank must have a creditor-debtor relationship in which it makes loans, lends money on overdraft facilities, or both. The Reserve Bank of India has also been considered to be a service provider. The RBI was deemed accountable for a lack of service in this case because there was a delay in issuing loans to the employees for their housing needs.
Insurance is a contract in which one party, the insurer, agrees to compensate the insured in the event of a financial loss within the terms and circumstances of the contract. If the insurance business defrauds the insured or the beneficiaries suffer a loss as a result of the firm’s negligence, the insurance company might be sued.
For example, if a transport business loses goods in route, the insurance company might claim the damage sustained by the traveller as a result of the transport company’s negligence.
In a recent example, the concept of a consumer who used insurance services was read to encompass the agreement’s beneficiaries as well. The Supreme Court ruled that the insurance agreement’s coverage can extend to anyone other than the insured.
There have been a number of disagreements before the CPA, 2019, over whether consumer fora can adjudicate telecom disputes. Consumers can seek redress for their problems under the Consumer Protection Act, according to the Telecom Consumers Protection And Redressal Of Grievances Regulations, 2007. Many areas have been brought under the jurisdiction of the consumer forum, including excessive billing by telephone carriers, administrative issues such as delays in processing applications for change of address of telephone lines or telephone lines that are out of service, broadband services by telephone companies such as BSNL, fraudulent messages received by consumers due to telephone company defaults such as Bharathi Airtel, and so on.
The Electricity Act of 2003 governs electricity, although it also allows for complaints to be filed under other acts, including the Consumer Protection Act. Consumers who experience a problem in electricity service or anything linked to it can file a complaint in a consumer forum. The NCDRC has stated that the Consumer Protection Act has no jurisdiction over matters such as metre tampering, unauthorised usage of electricity, and so on. The CPA covers power supply, and a case involving a delay in releasing an electricity connection for a grain mill was found to constitute a failure of service.
Construction and housing services
The construction and housing industry has increased throughout time as the population has grown and businesses have expanded, necessitating infrastructure and housing. Housing services that fall under the Consumer Protection Act can include things like the quality of the materials used in the construction, whether the infrastructure’s properties are as promised in the contract, or late or incomplete delivery of the house for possession, allotment of land by a government authority, and so on. The Supreme Court originally recognised housing as a service in the landmark case of Lucknow Development Authority v. M K Gupta. Real estate is also included in the category of housing and building services.
Service of transportation
Transportation services include road, rail, and air travel. In some cases, all three categories are regarded to be services in order to compensate unhappy customers. In the case of railways, consumer commissions dealt with issues such as customer refunds for train delays, unauthorised access into reserved compartments, lack of pleasant seats as promised in the terms and conditions, compensation for chain snatching, and so on. A passenger who died after falling off the passage between two compartments was compensated in an uncommon situation.
Different cases, such as passenger luggage loss in transit or cancellation of a confirmed ticket for no reason from the airlines, passenger injuries caused by negligently moving the ladder, poor quality of food supplied or non-veg served in case of veg food, departure before time, and so on, can be considered deficiency of service, and cases can be filed against the respective airlines. When it comes to road transportation, the same reasons that apply to aircraft and trains can be used to register complaints with the consumer commission.
Liquified petroleum gas cylinder or service
Every home has LPG, which is utilised for a variety of functions. Companies involved in the delivery of gas cylinders should exercise extreme caution because LPG is combustible, and even little errors can result in significant accidents. Companies are held accountable for a lack of services in such instances. The Consumer Commission has dealt with a number of complaints in this area, including death or injury caused by a mechanic sent by the dealer making a mistake, delivering the cylinder to the wrong address, failure by the dealer to re-check the cylinder, and so on.
Chit Fund Business
Small enterprises and traders use a chit fund to raise capital in monthly instalments. The Chit Fund Act of 1982 governs it, however there have been few instances brought before the consumer commission. The maintainability of such cases has been a point of contention, with the Madras Consumer Commission and the Andhra Pradesh Consumer Commission holding opposing viewpoints. However, in Sri Ram Priya Chit Fund Pvt Ltd v. Yara Srinivasa Rao, the National Commission determined on a chit fund case.
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