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Central investigation agency will probe companies cheating consumers

In a move that will strengthen the revised Consumer Protection Act, the government is likely to set up a special investigation agency that will probe companies that are accused of cheating consumers. The agency will work along the lines of other investigating agencies that probe cyber and economic crimes. According to official sources (as published in a leading economic daily), the investigating agency will be entrusted with the power to penalise errant companies for cheating consumers.

‘The agency will work under the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) that is going to be formed soon. The agency will be headed by a director general-level official and will investigate, among others, cases of consumer goods and unexpected price fluctuations and price crash of any product including farm produce and commodities like onions, tomatoes and pulses. In matters where cases reach the court, the investigation agency’s probe report will be accepted as valid evidence to seek justice.

The establishment of the investigating agency will happen alongside the formation of Central Consumer Protection Authority. This development is good news for common consumers and comes in the wake of the Cabinet’s approval of the new Consumer Protection Bill. The Bill, which seeks to enlarge the scope of the existing Consumer Protection Act and proposes stricter actions against misleading advertisements and food adulteration, is set to be introduced in the ongoing winter session of the parliament. The amended Act will provide for the setting up of a Central Consumer Protection Authority, which will make way for faster redressal of consumer complaints. It will also take up class-action cases, raised by a group of consumers with the same set of complaints.

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