Who is a consumer?
Section 2(c) of the PCPA,2005 defines the term “Consumer” as under
Buys or obtains on lease any product for a consideration and includes any user of such product but does not include a person who obtains any product for resale or for any commercial purpose; or
Hires any services for a consideration and includes any beneficiary of such services
What are consumer rights?
According to the UN guidelines on consumer protection (1985), a consumer has eight basic rights, which are as follows
- Right to Basic Needs
- Right to Safety
- Right to be Informed
- Right to Choose
- Right to Representation / be Heard
- Right to Redress
- Right to Consumer Education
- Right to Healthy Environment
How can consumer rights be protected?
Only enactment and enforcement of the law by the Government does not serve. It always requires enthusiastic response from the citizen’s side. The consumers should register their complaints in the Consumer Courts or before Authority, as the case may be to mark the power of consumers and to protect their rights.
Which remedies are available?
On violation of any provision of the Act, consumer may file a claim before Consumer Court, who shall be punished (to violator(s)) with imprisonment which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to hundred thousand rupees or with both in addition to damages or compensation as may be determined by the court. No court fee is required for filing claim before Consumer Court
For redressal of following grievances, consumer may file complaint before Authority, who may fine the violator that may extend to fify thousand rupees:-
Non disclosure of component parts, ingredients, quality, or date of manufacture and expiry
Non disclosure of capabilities or qualifications of the provider of the service or the quality of the products that he intends to use for provision of the service
Non exhibition of price list
Non issuance of receipt to the purchaser
To whom a complaint may be made?
Complaints may be made before the:
Authority (District Coordination Officer)
What is the procedure of filing a complaint / claim to get relief / damages?
Guidelines For Consumers For Filing Complaints / Claims
Before Consumer Court:
The Consumer may file case / claim before Consumer Court which is headed by the District & Session Judge / Additional District & Session Judge. The violator may be punished by the Court, with imprisonment which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to Rs.100, 000/- (Rupees one lac only) or with both in addition to damages or compensation as may be determined by the Court.
Serve a fifteen (15) days legal notice on plain paper, to the provider of defective product(s) or faulty service(s), as the case may be, stating therein that he / she / they will redress the damage suffered by him / her / them and consequently pay damages to the consumer within fifteen days of receipt of legal notice, otherwise the consumer may file a claim for redressal of his / her / their grievance before Consumer Court.
Legal notice should be served to the manufacturers / sellers of product(s) and to the service provider, in case of provision of service, especially through registered post / mail, along-with acknowledgement
If matter is not resolved through legal notice, then consumer may file a case / claim on plain paper for redressal of his / her / their grievance before the Consumer Court within subsequent fifteen days.
Case / claim may be filed by the consumer himself / herself / themself or through a Lawyer.
No Court fee is required for filing claim before Consumer Court.
Before Authority / DCO:
Any person may also file a complaint for violation of provision of following Sections of the Act before the Authority (DCO) on plain paper who, on being satisfied that such is the case, fine the violator that may extend to Rs. 50,000/- (Rupees fifty thousand only):-
Section- 11: Duty of disclosure regarding Products,
Section- 16: Duty of disclosure regarding Services,
Section- 18: Prices to be exhibited at the business place! and
Section- 19: Receipt to be issued to the purchaser.
No legal notice is required for filing complaints before Authority.
What does damage mean?
“Damage” means all damage caused by a product or service including damage to the product itself and economic loss arising from a deficiency in or loss of use of the product or service. (Section-2(d) of the Act)
What are the obligations of manufacturers?
The manufacturer of a product shall be liable to the consumer for damages caused by a characteristic of the product that renders the product defective when such damage arose from a reasonably anticipated use of the product by a consumer.
What are the obligations of service providers?
A provider of service shall be liable to a consumer for damages proximately caused by the provision of service that have caused damages.
How much damages may a consumer claim?
Consumer may file a claim for damages before a Consumer Court. Damages may be claimed according to sufferings or losses. There is no limit in this regard.
What are the things consumers should observe to protect their rights?
Consumers should observe the following in order to protect their rights
Check date of manufacturing / expiry of the product(s) before purchase
Read ingredients / component parts / instructions of the product(s) / service(s)
Insist about rate list / price catalogue of product(s) / service(s)
Always get receipt of product(s) / service(s) purchased / hired
Ask for the capabilities or qualifications of the service provider, along-with the quality of the tools he intends to use for provision of the services,
Ask about return and refund policy
Check design and standard of the product(s)
Check for the product’s safety / warning
Is there any remedy available against bait advertisement?
Yes, Bait advertisement is covered under Section-22 of the Act.
Can consumer lodge complaint against an astronomer?
No, detailed answer is provided in Section 2(k) of the Act which is as under
“services” includes the provision of any kind of facilities or advice or assistance such as provision of medical, legal or engineering services but does not include–
The rendering of any service under a contract of personal service
The rendering of non-professional services like astrology or palmistry:, or
A service, the essence of which is to deliver judgment by a court of law or arbitrator
Is there any limitation for filing a complaint in court?
Yes, 30 days from arising of cause of action.
Is there any pre-requisite for filling a claim in courts?
Yes, 15 days legal notice is pre-requisite for filing claim in Consumer Court.
Is right of appeal available under this Law?
Yes, right of appeal is available under the law
An Aggrieved person may file appeal in Lahore High Court, Lahore within 30 days of final order of the Consumer Court
An appeal may be filed before Government (Secretary, Industries, Commerce & Investment) within 30 days against the order of Authority