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Consumer Protection Act, 1986

The consumer protection act 1986 notes give detailed information on the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, which was approved to provide quicker and simpler access to redressal consumer grievances.

Consumer Protection Act 1986 was enacted for superior protection of the interest of consumers. The provision of the Act came into force from 15-04-1987. Consumer Protection Act forced strict liability on a manufacturer in case of the supply of faulty goods by him and strict liability on a service provider in case of shortage in rendering his services. 

To safeguard the interests and rights of consumers, quasi-judicial machinery is sought to be set up at the district, state and central levels. This Act applies to the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This Act was replaced by the ‘Consumer Protection Act 2019’ which came into force on 24th July 2020.

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What is the Consumer?

Consumer refers to persons or households that use goods and services generated within the economy. The consumer is defined as someone who obtains goods or services for direct use or possession rather than for exchange, resale or use in production and manufacturing.

For example:

When your mother buys apples for you and consumes them, your mother and yourself are treated as consumers.

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Concept of Consumer Protection

Consumer protection means protecting the rights and interests of consumers. In other words, it refers to the measures taken to protect consumers from unprincipled and unethical misconduct by the business and provide them quick redressal of their grievances.

Features of Consumer Protection Act, 1986

  • It applies to all goods, services and inequitable trade practices unless specified and exempted by the Central Government
  • It covers all sectors, private, public or co-operative
  • It provides the establishment or setting up of consumer protection councils at the district, state and central levels to encourage and protect the rights of consumers and three-tier quasi-judicial machinery to deal with consumer grievances and disputes

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Objectives of Consumer Protection

  • To protect the consumer from abuse
  • To provide a venue for grievances/compensation
  • To ensure a superior quality of living by upgrading consumer products and services
  • Protecting the consumer against immoral and unfair activities of the traders

Need for Consumer Protection Act

The necessity of acquiring measures to protect the interest of consumers come to light mainly due to the vulnerable position of the consumers.

Social Responsibility: It is the moral responsibility of the business to serve the interest of consumers. In line with this principle, producers and traders have to provide the right quality and quantity of goods at fair prices.

Increasing Awareness: Consumers are becoming more mature and conscious of their rights against the malpractices of the business. Many consumer organisations and associations are making efforts to build consumer awareness.

Consumer Satisfaction: The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, had once called manufacturers and traders to” treat your consumers as god”. Consumer satisfaction is the only key to the success of the business. Hence, people in business should take every step to serve the interests of consumers by providing them quality goods and services at a reasonable price.

Survival and Growth of Business: Businesses have to be in the service of consumer interests for their survival and growth. On account of globalisation and the rise in competition, any business organisation which indulges in malpractices or fails to provide improved services to its ultimate consumer shall find it difficult to continue.

Principle of Trusteeship: Resources/Assets were contributed by society. They are merely the trustees of the wealth and, therefore, they should use such resources effectively for the sake of the community, which includes the consumer. 

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Rights of the Consumer

  • Right to Safety – To be secured against the marketing of goods on delivering dangerous services to health and life
  • Right to Information – To be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising or labelling and the right to be given the facts and figures needed to make an informed choice
  • Right to Choice –To choose products at competitive prices with an assurance of satisfactory quality
  • Right to Representation – To express consumer interests in the making and execution of government policies
  • Right to Seek Redress – To be compensated for misrepresentation, shoddy goods or unsatisfactory services
  • Right to Consumer Education –To Acquire the Knowledge and skills necessary to be an informed customer
  • Right to Basic Needs – This Guarantees adequate food, shelter, health care, clothing, education and sanitation

Filing a Complaint

There are three tier Consumer Grievances machinery under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and their jurisdiction.

  • District Forum – The value of goods or compensation claim does not exceed Rs. 20 lakh.
  • State Forum – The value of goods or compensation is more than Rs. 20 lakh but does not exceed one crore.
  • National Forum – It takes up all the cases exceeding the value of Rs. 1 crore.


The Consumer Protection Act refers to the measures taken to protect consumers from unprincipled and unethical misconduct by the business and provide them quick redressal of their grievances. This Act is for the protection of the interest and rights of the consumer, and this spirit has been reflected in its provisions. 

The inclusion of e-commerce has broadened the Act’s scope, making it easier for the consumer to hold food aggregators responsible for violating their rights.


Frequently asked questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the UPSC Examination Preparation.

Who is not a Consumer?

Answer: The person who obtains goods for resale ...Read full

In which forum can we file the complaint when the value of goods equals Rs. 50 lakh?

Answer: We should file this complaint in the state forum because it deals with the value of goods Rs.20 lakh to Rs.1...Read full

What is the main aim of the Consumer Protection act?

Answer: The Consumer Protection Act aims to provide consumer rights to prevent fraud or specified unfair practices....Read full

When did the provision of the Consumer Protection Act come into force?

Answer: The provision of the Act came into force with effect on 15 April 1987.