Consumer Protection in Sri Lanka: An Evaluation of the...

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Published on March 21, 2014

Author: TIIKMConferences

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PowerPoint Presentation: Hosted by: Consumer Protection in Sri Lanka: An Evaluation of the Prevalent Law and Issues to be Addressed Upuli Karunawardhana Department of Law University of Peradeniya ayeshakarunawardhana@ymail.com Consumer Protection in Sri Lanka: An Evaluation of the Prevalent Law and Issues to be Addressed. : Consumer Protection in Sri Lanka: An Evaluation of the Prevalent Law and Issues to be Addressed. Upuli Karunawardhana LL.B (Honours) University of Colombo Lecturer (Temporary) Department of Law University of Peradeniya ayeshakarunawardhana@ymail.com PowerPoint Presentation: “ Consumers by definition include us all. They are the largest economic group, affecting and affected by almost every public and private economic decision. Yet they are the only important group, whose views are often not heard”. Late American president, John F. Kennedy. PowerPoint Presentation: a person who pays for what he/she consumes. or one that consumes, especially one that acquires goods or services for direct use or ownership rather than for resale or use in production and manufacturing is called a consumer. What does the term “ consumer ” mean? PowerPoint Presentation: Within the context of Sri Lankan consumer protection law… “consumer” means any actual or potential user of any goods or services made available for a consideration by any trader or manufacturer. (Consumer Affairs Authority Act, No. 9 Of 2003. s.75) ‘actual person’ ‘potential user’ PowerPoint Presentation: No universal definition for consumer protection, since it is molded by the public policy of the country within which it is defined. In theory, it means enhancing consumer welfare. What does ‘Consumer Protection’ mean? ‘Consumer protection’ is a group of laws and organizations designed to ensure the rights of consumers as well as fair trade, competition and the free flow of truthful information in the market place PowerPoint Presentation: What are ‘Consumer Rights’ ? Consumer protection Consumer rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 25(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. mere guidelines no binding effect PowerPoint Presentation: Guidelines for Consumer Protections, UN Department of International Economic and Social Affairs A/RES/39/248 (1986). The right to safety The right to choose The right to information The right to be heard. The right to redress The right to consumer education The right to a healthy environment Basic Consumer Rights PowerPoint Presentation:  ‘ Consumer awareness ’ can be defined as the understanding by an individual of their rights as a consumer concerning available products and services being marketed and sold . What does ‘Consumer Awareness’ mean? Role of the ‘consumer activists’ . Role of national and international organizations Role of individual Consumer for consumer protection. PowerPoint Presentation: Consumer activists and organizations Sri Lanka India International Sphere PowerPoint Presentation: Consumer Protection In Sri Lanka Consumer Affairs Authority Act No 9 of 2003 (CAA Act) The major legislation to regulate internal trade, consumer protection and other relevant matters . to provide for the better protection of consumers through the regulation of trade and the prices of goods and services to protect traders and manufacturers against unfair trade practices and restrictive trade practices, to promote competitive pricing wherever possible and to ensure healthy competition among traders and manufacturers of goods and services PowerPoint Presentation: The investigative body which implements the Act The advisory body and adjudicates the matters The CAA Act has also established two major bodies Consumer Affairs Council (CAC) Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) PowerPoint Presentation: Functions of the CAA are broadly spelled out. Cover a wide range of goods and services including ‘professional services’ Opportunity to consumers to make complaints. Penalties consisting of fines and imprisonment. Provision enabling the Minister to consult the CAA to declare certain goods and services as essential to the ‘life of the community’. Recognition of several offences with regard to unfair trade practices. Striking features of CAA Act PowerPoint Presentation: Some inherent weaknesses in CAA Act No provision to directly claim damages and redress the injuries caused by defective products Lack of procedural fairness. The powers which enable the Minister to consult the Authority being opened to undue political influences. Unnecessary confusions caused by lack of specifications about the interface of the CAA and the other relevant authorities. PowerPoint Presentation: Other challenges in providing consumer protection Sri Lanka Lack of participation of the ‘judiciary’ in preserving the consumer rights under the persisting law of the country. The Bench The Bar Scarcity of necessary resources Political influence over the regulatory bodies Lack of consumer education Lack of public participation Lack of transparency and accountability Financial Human PowerPoint Presentation: Indian consumer protection law : Lessons to be learnt This law was inspired by the theme “ jago grahak jago ” which means “consumer is the king”. Consumer Protection Act no 68 of 1986 (CPA) to provide better protection for the interests of the consumers, t o establish ‘Consumer Councils’ and other authorities to settle the consumer disputes PowerPoint Presentation: National level State level District level Consist of the citizens and organizations representing different interest groups with regard to consumer rights protection. Main objectives are to promote and protect rights and interests of consumers in the society. ‘Consumer Protection Councils’ PowerPoint Presentation:  ‘Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies’ (CDRA) These are quasi judicial in nature. The jurisdiction of these councils is decided upon the monetary value of the matter. Established at all three levels and known as ‘ District Forums ’, ‘State Commissions ’ and ‘ National Commission ’. Mandatory representation of women in redressing consumer disputes. Each forum to be presided over by a judge as specified at each level. PowerPoint Presentation: Striking features of CPA CPA has provided the basic consumer rights CPA has introduced an institutionalized mechanism that runs to the grass-root level of the country The entire mechanism is not limited to a single centric body, it is decentralized The mechanism is simple and well-structured. Reliefs available to the consumers under CPA are more practicable and adequate to address the changes taken place in the economy. The CPA has interpreted the term ‘complainant’, representing all the consumer groups to its fullest possibility. CPA strengthens the procedural fairness, by providing provisions for an appeal procedure. PowerPoint Presentation: A comparative study: Consumer protection laws of Sri Lanka and India Major laws governing the consumer protection. Judicial participation Consumer Awareness Consumer Activism – organizations / individuals Consumer advocacy Consumer education PowerPoint Presentation: What is ‘Consumerism’? “ Consumerism is a movement or policies aimed at regulating the products or services, methods or standards of manufacturers, sellers and advertisers in the interest of buyers, such regulation may be institutional, statutory or embodied in a voluntary code occupied by a particular industry or it may result more indirectly from the influence of consumer organizations”. Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. III, P.108. Consumer activism ‘Consumerism’ PowerPoint Presentation: It has become an emerging force which is influencing the major business decisions in the world. Consumerism It shifted many consumer laws from ‘ caveat emptor ’ or ‘buyer, beware’ to ‘ caveat venditor ’ or ‘seller, beware’ . Its effectiveness depends on vigilance of the consumers Consumerism has not sufficiently developed in Sri Lanka, due to lack of consumer activism. PowerPoint Presentation: To improve consumerism in Sri Lanka…. consumer activism must be enhanced, simultaneous to the substantive and procedural reforms addressing the current needs of the economy and the dynamic behavior of the consumer. PowerPoint Presentation: “.. A Consumer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us we are on him. He is not an interruption to our work; he is the purpose of it. We are not doing a favour to a consumer by giving him an opportunity. He is doing us a favour by giving an opportunity to serve him .” PowerPoint Presentation: Thank you!!! The end.

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