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By Fiona Mehta

 

The Central Consumer Protection Authority, which celebrated its two-year anniversary on July 24 2022, issued 129 notices, 71 of which were for misleading behavior, 49 for unfair business practices, and nine for violating consumer rights.

The notices have been issued with the intention of launching a nationwide campaign to stop the sale of fake and counterfeit goods that violate the Quality Control Orders (QCOs) published by the Central Government and to increase consumer awareness and consciousness to purchase goods that comply with BIS Standards, according to CCPA Chief Commissioner Nidhi Khare.

The first safety notice was issued in relation to helmets, pressure cookers, and cooking gas cylinders, and the second safety notice was issued in relation to household items like electric immersion water heaters, sewing machines, microwave ovens, domestic gas stoves with LPG, etc., according to an official statement by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution.

Khare further stated that the purpose of the safety alerts was to warn people away from purchasing domestic items like electric immersion water, aluminium foil for food packaging, etc. that do not bear legitimate ISI marks. The potential of serious harm or injury to consumers increases when these products’ mandatory requirements are violated, according to her.

As a result, these actions remained unchecked and without consequence. In addition to contacting the commissions, consumers may also seek relief from the establishment of the CCPA, which has the authority to issue orders for the cessation of practises that are unfair and harmful to the interests of consumers and to impose penalties in cases of false or misleading advertisements.

CCPA through class action protects the right of the consumer even the sleeping consumers who are unaware of their rights. After the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, the CCPA suo moto took note and sent notices to the businesses who, by their deceptive ads, had instilled terror in the minds of consumers. In response to the CCPA’s measures, 15 businesses have pulled their advertisements, and three more have released apology ads.

The CCPA also issued an order to stop running advertising including endorsements from international dentists in addition to fining Sensodyne Rs. 10 lakh for making the “Recommended by dentists worldwide” statements.

To safeguard customers on e-commerce websites, the government has issued a warning to all e-commerce marketplaces, requiring them to provide full information on the seller and the products they are selling.

Additionally, Ola and Uber received notices for violating consumer rights and engaging in dishonest business activities. Other significant issues mentioned by CCPA included the lack of an effective system for resolving customer complaints, deficiencies in service, the imposition of excessive cancellation fees, and the fairness of the algorithm used to calculate tariffs.

The CCPA maintains its focus on consumer health in this area and has issued a warning to online retailers to stop selling Ayurvedic, Siddha, and Unani medications without a valid prescription from an authorised Ayurveda, Siddha, or Unani practitioner. The CCPA seeks to create an ecosystem that supports company growth and consumer rights protection, not to stifle innovation or impose limits on enterprises, according to the statement.