The Punjab Government passed the Punjab Consumer Protection Act (PCPA) in 2005 to establish provisions for the protection and promotion of consumer rights and interests as well as to raise the standard of goods and services in the province by removing subpar goods and unsatisfactory services from trade and commerce. District Consumer Courts and District Consumer Protection Councils have been established as a result of such provisions in the following seventeen districts: Bhakkar, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, D.G. Khan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Lahore, Layyah, Mandi Baha Uddin, Multan, Rawalpindi, R.Y. Khan, Sahiwal, Sargodha, and Sialkot.
The Trust Act of 1882 was used to register the rights-based public effort known as the Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan (CRCP). CRCP is a private, non-profit, and non-governmental organization that was founded in 1998.
What is a Consumer:
The term “Consumer” is defined in Section 2(c) of the PCPA, 2005 as anyone who buys or obtains on lease any product for a consideration and includes any user of such product, but does not include anyone who obtains any product for resale or for any commercial purpose, or who hires any services for a consideration and includes any beneficiary of such services.
What are Consumer Rights:
According to the UN principles on consumer protection (1985) these are some rights of consumer,
- Fundamental Needs
- The Right to Safety
- Right to Information
- Right to Choose;
How Consumer Rights can be Protected:
Only the government’s passage and enforcement of the legislation is ineffective. It always necessitates an enthusiastic reaction from the citizenry. Consumers should file complaints in Consumer Courts or before the Authority’s Deputy Commissioner, if appropriate, to demonstrate their authority and preserve their rights.
What Remedies are available to Consumer:
Consumers have the right to bring claims before the Consumer Court for violations of any provisions of the Act, and violators will be penalized with up to two years in jail, a fine up to $100,000, or both, in addition to any damages or other compensation the court may deem appropriate. There is no court fee needed to file a claim with the Consumer Court.
Consumers may bring the following complaints to the attention of the Authority’s Deputy Commissioner, who has the authority to impose fines of up to 50,000 rupees on violators:
- withholding information about a product’s contents, quality, manufacturing date, or expiration date
- Non-disclosure of the service provider’s credentials or talents, as well as the caliber of the goods he plans to utilize to provide the service
- not displaying the pricing list
- No receipt being given to the buyer
To Whom Complain can be made?
Complaints may be made before the:
- Consumer Court
- Authority (Deputy Commissioner)
How to file a case before the Authority or DC :
Any person may bring a claim for a breach of the following Act provisions before the Authority or DC, which, upon finding that this is the case, may impose a punishment of up to PKR 50,000 (Rupees fifty thousand only) on the offender:
Section 11: Product disclosure obligation
Section 16: Disclosure obligation for services
Section 18: Prices that must be shown at the location of business
Section 19: The purchaser will get a receipt.
The District & Session Judge or Additional District & Session Judge who chairs the Consumer Court is another venue where the Consumer may bring a lawsuit or assert a claim. The offender may be sentenced to up to two years in jail, a fine up to Rs. 100,000 (Rupees One Lac Only), or both, in addition to any damages or other compensation that the court deems appropriate.
The following are the steps to filing a complaint or claim with the Consumer Court:
- Serve a fifteen (15) day legal notice on plain paper to the supplier of the defective good(s) or service(s), as the case may be, stating therein that he/she/they will remedy the damage suffered by him/her/them and,
- as a result, pay damages to the consumer within fifteen (15) days of receiving the legal notice, failing which the consumer may file a claim for redress of his/her/them/their grievance before Consumer Court.
- When a service is provided, legal notice should be sent to the service provider, the manufacturer(s), and the seller(s), notably by registered post or letter, along with an acknowledgment.
- Consumer may submit a complaint or claim on plain paper for redress of their grievance before the Consumer Court during the next fifteen days if the situation is not addressed via legal notice.
- The consumer may submit a case or claim on their own or via an attorney.
- There is no court fee necessary to file a claim with the Consumer Court.
Consumer court case procedure step by step:
STEP 1: Notice-based Intimation
a letter that must be sent by the party that is unhappy to the company that supplied the products or the services. The notification notifies the recipient of the complainant’s plan to file a lawsuit as well as any unfair practices or flaws in the products or services. If the service provider is prepared to give compensation or any other remedy, the notification is also an effort to resolve the issue outside of the Forum.
Step 2: The second step is to draft the consumer complaint.
The next step is to submit a formal complaint under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 if the service provider is unwilling to give compensation or any other remedy. There is no need for legal representation in order to file the complaint. The party that feels wronged may submit a complaint. The complaint must include the following information:
- The complainant(s), the opposite party(s), and their names, descriptions, and addresses.
- Cause of Action, as well as an estimated time, date, and location.
facts that are pertinent to the cause of action.
- The complainant’s requested relief or remedy in light of the circumstances of the case.
- The complainant’s signature and verification, or that of his appointive representative.
Step 3: Include Necessary Documents:
It is crucial to have copies of the appropriate paperwork and supporting documentation for your case in consumer court. These records consist of:
A copy of the invoice, delivery receipt, product packing, and a record of the online purchase of the purchased items
certificates of warranty or guarantee
a copy of the letter of complaint and notification addressed to the seller/manufacturer
Step 4: Select the Correct Forum:
Select the proper court to file the complaint in line with the pecuniary jurisdiction, which is calculated based on the total cost of the products and services purchased or used and the requested amount of compensation.
Step 5: Pay the necessary court fees:
Depending on the venue, a stipulated fee must be paid together with the complaint when it is filed. The court charge is determined by the cost of the purchased items and the amount of damages requested.
Step 6: Submit an Affidavit
Affidavits must be filed in court by anybody who wishes to bring a lawsuit in the Consumer Court. The affidavit must say that the consumer’s assertions and the information they’ve provided are accurate to the best of their knowledge.
How can submit online complain:
To submit a complaint online, the complainant do the following actions on Consumer Court Mobile application : To Download App Click here
By selecting “new user” or “log in” if you already have an account on Consumer Court Mobile application , you must register yourself and create an account Consumer Court Mobile application.
You must enter your name, phone number, address, and email address, among other information.
After registering, use your username and password to access your account. For online complaint submission, select the “File a Complaint” option.
Decide on the company’s or service provider’s type and the products or services they provide. For instance, if you have a complaint about a shopping website, the company could be the website you used to shop from and the service would be online shopping.
AFTER THAT, A REGISTRATION FORM APPEARS ON THE SCREEN (STEP 5).
Include all pertinent information, any supporting documentation, and a thorough description of the problem you are having with the supplier of the goods or services. In essence, the cause of action is provided in this step.
Step 6: Submit the form to file your complaint.
To submit application directly without app Download
How long does the consumer court process take?
The Consumer Forum must decide on complaints within a reasonable amount of time, although this is not mandated by law. Due of the three layer appeal structure, the Forums are busy. However, the typical duration might be anything between one year and five years. The Forums may need an extra period of time of 1-3 years if an appeal is taken against the order.
In what kind of matters is consumer court heard?
A consumer court hears cases involving a disagreement between a consumer and a trader or supplier. The claims must include either poor service, harmed products or services, unfair or exclusive business activities, or damaged items. A consumer court may also handle cases involving the general public in the range of consumer problems.
An person or organization that violates consumer rights may be punished by the Central Consumer Protection Authority. This is accomplished in a number of ways, including the imposition of penalties, the return of faulty goods,
the payment of compensation for such items or services,
or the suspension of unfair business practices.
What are Things Consumer should observe to protect their rights?
To safeguard their rights, consumers should do the following.
Check the product(s) production date / expiration date before purchasing.
Read the product(s) / service’s ingredients / component components / instructions (s)
- Insist for a price list / pricing catalogue for the product(s) / service (s)
- Always get a receipt for the product(s) or service(s) bought or hired.
- Inquire about the service provider’s talents or credentials, as well as the quality of the tools he plans to employ to perform the services.
- Inquire about the return and refund policy.
- Examine the product’s design and quality (s)
- Examine the product’s safety / warnings.
1.advertising that is deceptive or untrue is punished:
False or deceptive advertising is the responsibility of the manufacturer, advertiser, or endorser. However, the endorser is only held accountable in these situations if they failed to do enough research before to supporting the relevant advertising. The penalty is:
First-time offenders are subject to a fine of up to Rs. 10 lakh and a maximum sentence of two years in prison.
For any subsequent offense, a fine of up to Rs. 50 lakh and a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison may be imposed.
Additionally, for a period of up to a year, the Central Authority may forbid them from promoting any goods. If there are more offenses, the sentence may be increased to three years.
Failure to follow these instructions from the Central Authority may result in a fine of up to Rs. 20 lakh or a prison sentence of up to 6 months.
2.punishment for the selling of damaged goods:
The sale, import, storage, or distribution of contaminated food by a manufacturer or merchant is prohibited. The following sanctions are applicable:
It is possible to get a fine of up to Rs. 1 lakh and a prison sentence of up to 6 months where there is no harm to the customer, such as any form of suffering or death.
If the customer is not severely harmed by the damage, up to one year in prison and a fine of Rs. 3 lakh may be imposed.
A fine of up to Rs. 5 lakh and a prison sentence of up to 7 years may be imposed where the customer has suffered severe harm.
If the adulteration resulted in the consumer’s death, a fine of at least Rs. 10 lakh and a prison sentence of at least 7 years may be imposed.
Additionally, if it is a first offense, the Consumer Authority may suspend the manufacturer’s license for up to two years or, if it is a recurrent offense, may terminate the manufacturer’s license entirely.
3.punishment for the selling of fake products:
Products that are erroneously represented as genuine, fake, or exact replicas of authentic, original products are referred to as spurious goods. These often lack quality and violate the genuine items’ owners’ legal trademark and copyright rights. Medicines or inexpensive cosmetics that may be purchased in local marketplaces are two significant examples. The following actions by the maker that include the purchase, importation, distribution, or storage of these commodities are prohibited:
A fine of up to Rs. 3 lakhs and a prison sentence of up to 1 year may be imposed if the customer has not been injured severely.
A producer may get a prison sentence of up to 7 years and a fine of up to Rs. 5 lakhs if their fake products seriously injure a customer1616.
When a customer dies as a result of a product they purchased, they may be sentenced to a least of 7 years in prison and a maximum of life in addition to a minimum fine of Rs. 10 lakhs.