Consumer Issues
Parliamentary panel suggests amendment to consumer protection bill

The panel also recommended providing provision for setting up an authority to check misleading advertisements and inter-ministerial committee to file suo moto complaint in consumer court on behalf of consumers

New Delhi: To protect the interest of consumers, a Parliamentary panel has suggested the government to amend a bill to make it compulsory for shopkeepers to take back goods if found defective and regulate purchases through e-commerce and telemarketing, reports PTI.

 

In its report on Consumer Protection Amendment Bill, the panel has also recommended providing provision for setting up an authority to check misleading advertisements and inter-ministerial committee to file suo moto complaint in consumer court on behalf of consumers.

 

The panel, headed by Vilas Muttemwar, also suggested the Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry to make provision for "a law to govern and guard purchasing especially done through e-commerce and telemarketing thereby fixing responsibility on sellers."

 

"In our country, goods once purchased by consumers in good faith are not taken back by shopkeepers. ...consumers are exploited by shopkeepers and are compelled to buy goods merely on faith. The committee further desire that a 'return policy' should be chalked out which should be mandatory," the report, tabled in Parliament today, said.

 

The panel observed that some of the shopkeepers even write 'goods once sold are not taken back', hence, leaving no room for consumers for getting goods exchanges or returned even after some defect has been detected.

 

In the report, the Committee felt that the consumers are exploited by the shopkeepers and are compelled to buy goods merely on faith.

 

The report highlighted that there is need for up-dation of standards of quality of goods and services provided to consumers in order to conform to global standards. It has also emphasised on creating awareness about consumer rights envisaged in the proposed Act.

 

The panel has asked the government to fill up vacant posts in consumer courts without delay besides suggesting the Central government to share at least 30% to the salary of president, members and staff of consumer court since states lack resources.

 

It has recommended strengthening of monitoring mechanism for disposal of consumer related cases. "A clause to this effect may timely disposal of cases mandatory should be included in this bill itself."

 

The panel hoped that the passage of the amendment bill would overcome the shortcomings like delay in disposal of cases lack of infrastructure among others crept in due course in the functioning of the Act, thereby ensuring protection of the consumer’s rights.

 

The Consumer Protection Act 1986 has been amended thrice so far.

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IRDA sets up panel to examine issue of retail broking system

The 10-member committee will also consider the qualification, examination and syllabus for players in the retail broking system in insurance

New Delhi: The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) have set up a committee to examine the issue of allowing retail broking system in the insurance space with an aim to increase penetration, reports PTI.

 

Besides, the 10-member committee will also consider the qualification, examination and syllabus for players in the retail broking system.

 

The panel will also consider manner in which the retail broking system could operate as sub-brokers and together with insurance brokers the manner in which these could be dovetailed with the Common Service Centres proposed to be set up by the Government of India, IRDA said.

 

Various stakeholders have been requesting the authority to consider sub-broking system as prevalent in other jurisdictions, it said.

 

It noted that in order to increase the penetration of insurance in semi urban and rural areas presence of intermediaries is vital.

 

At present the insurers and brokers are mainly operating mostly in big cities, it said.

 

The committee, headed by PC James chair professor of National Insurance Academy, will submit its report by 31 January 2013.

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HDFC Bank penalised for illegally charging cardholder

Ahmedabad resident Dipak Sheth took over four years to get a refund of an amount of Rs8,050 that was wrongly debited from his account by the private sector bank in lieu of non-payment of arbitrary charges

A consumer forum has directed HDFC Bank to refund the money that was illegally debited from Dipak Sheth’s savings account, along with interest at the rate of 9 per cent from the day it was collected (on 3rd June 2008), in addition to Rs1,500 as compensation for mental agony and Rs1,500 toward cost of litigation.
 

In 2005, Mr Sheth was issued a credit card from an Ahmedabad branch of HDFC Bank. He used the card to pay a shopping bill of Rs3,786. This shopping trip would cost him more dearly, both financially and mentally, in the next few years. The last date for payment of the bill was 27th January, 2006. So on 24th January, he deposited a cheque for the full amount. The amount was somehow credited to HDFC Bank only on 31st January. For this, Mr Sheth was charged a late payment fee of Rs275, Rs110 as an outstation collection fee and Rs89 as a finance charge. Mr Sheth paid the first charge, but protested all three; only the delayed payment fee was refunded. But not only was the request for the refund of the remaining Rs199 (Rs110 plus Rs89) ignored, the bank later illegally collected Rs8,043 from Mr Sheth’s savings bank account for non-payment.
 

Despite repeated attempts to get back the money, Mr Sheth was unsuccessful. Helpless, Mr Sheth approached Consumer Education and Research Society, which moved the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Ahmedabad (Additional) on 8th September 2009. The matter was finally settled on 22nd October, 2012, when the consumer forum ruled in favour of Mr Sheth. Given that Mr Sheth did paid his bill on time, the fact that he had to struggle to get his money back, and that too from a leading private sector bank, is ludicrous.

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COMMENTS

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

4 years ago

Why paid now? Due to problems brewing.

Ajit Misquitta

4 years ago

HDFC Bank is also making customers take out insurance when taking loans without confirming if they have insurance in place already. This may also amount to mis selling of a product like insurance which is supposed to be regulated.

REPLY

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

In Reply to Ajit Misquitta 4 years ago

Not only HDFC all Banks are forcing customers take out Insurance policies, whether Life or Stock

Vikas Gupta

4 years ago

All the Banks behave in a similar manner but some respond after a lot of communication but some don't even respond at all. I am a Priority Customer of Axis Bank, Rohtak & Axis Bank never responds its Priority Customers even. You can easily understand the value of an Ordinary Account Holder. Private Banks only gives services to those Customers, from whom they get 3rd Party business regularly.

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