Header
ISSUE: April, 2019
The monthly e-Newsletter of the National Consumer Helpline

Jago Grahak Jago Logo


  • EDITORIAL TEAM:
  • Editor in Chief:
    • Prof. Suresh Misra

    Consulting Editor:
    • Mr. G. N. Sreekumaran

    Editorial Team:
    • Ms. Deepika Sur
    • Ms. Sunita Manik

    Sector Experts:
    • Mr. Jagat Narayan Prajapati (Legal Metrology)
    • Dr. Mamta Prajapati (Food)
    • Dr. Om Parkash Arora (Insurance)
    • Mr. Prabhat Kumar (Financial)
    • Ms. Sonam Dhawan (Legal)

    Designing & Development:
    • Mr. Shobhit Sharma

CONSUMER VELOCITY @ NCH

The National Consumer Helpline (NCH) is the grievance resolution mechanism of the Department of Consumer Affairs, Govt. of India and operates from the Indian Institute of Public Administration New Delhi .The web portal www.consumerhelpline.gov.in is the platform to record and handle grievance received at NCH. either through phone, directly on the website, NCH App, letters by postal etc. The web chat facility is also available for consumers to get answers to any query that they may have.

NCH assist in the following ways:

Information & guidance: NCH counsels, guides and supports aggrieved consumers in getting their grievances resolved.

Alternate Dispute Redressal System (ADR): The alternate dispute redressal system has 519 companies as convergence partners. Convergence companies are across the spectrum of sectors like Banking, e-commerce, telecom, consumer electronics, higher education etc.

Big Data Analytics: Analysis of data helps in knowing trends - sector wise, time wise and the different patterns that emerge from analyzing and stratification of the data collated.

Advocacy: Based on the analysis done, specific type of grievance affecting a large number of consumers is highlighted to the organizations. Also, advocacies are brought out to sensitize Regulators and Departments on various pain points of consumers.

SNAPSHOT

DOCKETS REGISTERED
  • In the month of April 2019, National Consumer Helpline registered 55,770 dockets on the portal - www.consumerhelpline.gov.in. Out of the 55, 770 dockets, 32,854 dockets were handled at Toll free number, 2458 calls were made to SMS received, and 14,302 dockets were registered directly on the Website. 3993 grievances were reported through “NCH App”. On the web chat facility, 1224 user’s queries were handled. 1762 grievance dockets have been registered on the UMANG App till the end of the month.
STATE-WISE DOCKETS REGISTERED:

The numbers of dockets registered from states are arranged in descending order the top 10 state are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka, Rajasthan West Bengal, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.

S. No. State No of Dockets %
1 Uttar Pradesh 7866 14.10
2 Maharashtra 7214 12.94
3 Delhi 7125 12.78
4 Karnataka 3674 6.59
5 Rajasthan 3611 6.47
6 West Bengal 3584 6.43
7 Gujarat 3131 5.61
8 Haryana 3088 5.54
9 Madhya Pradesh 2649 4.75
10 Telangana 2296 4.12
Pie Chart
SECTOR-WISE:

Majority of the grievances are received from sectors of E-commerce, Banking, DTH & Cable, Telecom, and Consumer Electronic Products.

India Map

The Website www.nationalconsumerhelpline.in registered a hit count of 3,48,071 during the month of April 2019

CONVERGENCE PARTNERSHIP:

Besides consumer awareness, NCH also works towards 'making Companies responsible’ in resolving consumer grievances at the pre-litigation level itself, by the Alternate Dispute Redressal Mechanism. Currently 519 companies/ organizations are listed under the ‘convergence’ programme. All organisation have partnered with NCH voluntarily.

A wide spectrum of companies in sectors ranging from consumer electronics and durables to services such as Banking, Insurance, Electricity, Telecom sectors such as Automobiles, Courier, Tours & Travels are all ‘convergence’ partners of NCH. Grievances received are accessed by the nodal person of the company who uploadings the redressal responses. 23,240 grievances were registered for convergence companies.

Centralized Public Grievance Redress And Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) Website : www.pgportal.gov.in

NCH tries to resolve grievances forwarded by the Department of Consumer Affairs received on www.pgportal.gov.in. This is a Govt. of India Public grievance portal administered by DARPG for citizens to voice their grievances. In April 2019, NCH received 291 grievances.

EVENT GALLERY

1. Visit of Secretary (Consumer Affairs) to augmented NCH after its expansion:

After inaugurating the National Conference on Product Liability and Consumer Protection on 2nd April 2019 , Mr. Avinash K. Srivastava Secretary (CA), Ms Shefali Shah Additional Secretary (CA) , Mr Amit Mehta Joint Secretary(CA) and other officials of the Deptt of Consumer Affairs to see the new extended NCH.

Photo Gallery 1
Photo Gallery 2
Photo Gallery 11
Photo Gallery 12

2. Visit of Students and Faculty from Advani Law College, Mumbai

28 Students along with the Principal and two Professors Visited National Consumer Helpline on 3rd April 2019 to understand the consumer activities carried out and the role it plays in resolving consumer grievance.

Photo Gallery 3
Photo Gallery 4

3. Visit of 105th Orientation Training Programme for the Presidents and Members of District Consumer Forums:

Participants of the training programme visited NCH on 11th April 2019 to get a firsthand experience of its operations.

Photo Gallery 3
Photo Gallery 4

4. Visit of trainees from National School of Tunisia as part of the Special Training Programme at IIPA:

24 Officers visited National Consumer Helpline on 16th April 2019 to understand the mechanism of handling consumer grievances and its redressal.

Photo Gallery 3
Photo Gallery 4

CONSUMER KALEIDOSCOPE

(Information for Consumers)

SECTOR: LEGAL METROLOGY
Requirements for Principal Display Panel on packaged products:

  • The area of principal display panel for mandatory declaration must be legible and should not be less than 40% of total surface area of the package.
  • The retail sale price and net quantity declared on a package should be in a contrast colour with the background of the label.
  • When the package is provided with the outside container or wrapper, all the mandatory declaration should also appear on such container or wrapper.
  • Numerals for declaring net quantity and MRP should have space above and below equal to height of such numeral and at least twice the height of such numeral on the left and the right side in the declaration on Principal Display Panel.
  • The height and width of numerals for declaring net quantity and MRP should be as per rules, in such a way the information can be read easily by the consumers.
  • It should be doubled display size of quantity & MRP on small packs, while on bigger ones, increased by 1.5 times. Width of numerals & letters not be less than one third of its height except numeral “1” and letters (i), (I) & (l).
  • For imported goods, the complete address of the importer with complete postal index number should be mentioned on Principal Display Panel.
SECTOR: FOOD
Beware of Industrial Ice not for human consumption:

  • Summer season is in full swing. Ice becomes an essential commodity during summers. Edible ice is considered as food under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
  • Manufacturing of edible ice should be as per specification regulated by FSSAI. Water used should be potable and should meet the standards of IS 10500.
  • Industrial ice which is used in preserving medicines, in cement factories and involved in many such uses other than food is also available in the market at much cheaper rates.
  • Industrial ice should not be used in place of Edible ice as it could be contaminated and cause health hazards. Contamination could be physical, chemical or biological. Physical contamination may be in the form of any foreign body (stone, wooden straw, glass etc.); Chemical contamination constitutes heavy metals (Mercury, Lead etc), pesticides, insecticides present in the non-potable water; and biological contamination means presence of microorganisms (Escherichia coli causing diarrhea, Salmonella typhi causing typhoid etc.).
  • Use of Industrial ice is prohibited by FSSAI for preservation/transportation of food commodities because it may lead to contamination. Industrial ice which is cheaper in rate can easily be procured by roadside vendors and used in making beverages, ice gola etc.
  • FSSAI had notified the use of food colour (indigo Carmine or brilliant blue up to 10 ppm) in the production of industrial ice blocks with effect from June 1, 2018,. This imparts a blue color to industrial ice and is a clear differentiation between Edible and Industrial ice.
  • Edible ice should be sparkling clear and colorless. Thus the use of contaminated industrial ice can be easily be identified by consumers because of its blue color.

Industrial ice in foods (beverage, Ice gola) and in food preservation and transportation must be informed to Commissioner of Food Safety of the State / Union Territory or Central Food Authority, FSSAI

For further information please visit : https://fssai.gov.in/home/compliance/compliance-orders.html

SECTOR: INSURANCE
A - Life Insurance and General Insurance Products

Aadhaar not mandatory for buying insurance: Circular Number IRDAI/SDD/CIR/MISC/020/01/2019 dt 29th January 2019

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India have asked insurers to refrain from seeking Aadhaar from the proposer or policy holders.
  • The insurers may accept Aadhaar card as one of the identity or address proof documents for KYC purpose subject to certain conditions. They include voluntary offer of Aadhaar card, including physical copy of e-Aadhaar, masked Aadhar and offline Aadhaar, by customer as one of the documents for KYC purpose.
  • The insurers will under no circumstances do the authentication either using e-KYC facility or authentication facility of UIDAI. They should also ensure that the first eight digits of the Aadhaar number are properly masked. The Authority said, at no point in time, more than last four digits of the Aadhaar number of any individual should be stored by the insurers in physical or digital form. The IRDAI has also withdrawn its own circular issued in August 2017 on Aadhaar based e-KYC.
  • It may be recalled that the Supreme Court in September 2018 had ruled against mandatory use of Aadhaar in various cases pertaining to the prevention of money laundering, among others.
B - General Insurance:

No Change in Motor Third –Party (TP) insurance premium rates: IRDAI

  • There will be no change in the premium rates for motor third-party liability insurance cover for the new financial year commencing from April 1,2019.
  • In a circular no - IRDA/NL/ORD/MOTP/051/03/2019 notified on 28th March 2018 informed that the premium rates for the year 2018-19 would continue to be in force for the financial year 2019-20 till further notice.
  • Every year, the insurance regulator notifies the mandatory third-party insurance premium rates in the last week of March, to be effective from April 1.This is the first time in the recent past that the regulator has allowed the old rates to continue for the new financial year as well.
SECTOR: FINANCIAL
Protect Yourself in Online transactions

It is important to be careful when banking online as one does not want safety or privacy to be breached. These steps will protect fraudulent transactions and Identity thefts:

  • Regularly clear the cookies in temporary files after each banking session/ transactions, especially if one is using public/ shared computer or public “Wi-Fi”.
  • Ensure that the password is long and complex having. In unique and special characters to prevent it from being hacked
  • Never share critical information like 16 digit number CC no ,4 digit CVV no.; OTP and internet banking details even if somebody claims to be from the bank .Also one should be extra caution when such critical information is used especially by roommates or co-workers etc.
  • Checking bank statements and credit report on regular basis.
  • Monitor bank accounts that are rarely used ,to avoid excess charges and fraudulent transactions.
  • Link all financial accounts with the registered email id and mobile number for timely up to date information/alerts
SECTOR: LEGAL

Consumer protection Act 1986 and Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 are supplemental to each other.
Recently the National Commission in Ajay Nagpal vs. Today Homes (April 2019) held that if a consumer has a remedy available under Real Estate (Regulation and Development ) Act 2016 (RERA) it does not bar the consumer from approaching the Consumer Forum. It reiterated that an arbitration clause in an agreement also does not bar a remedy under the Consumer Protection Act,1986.

The judgment laid down inter aliathe following principles:

  • The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is a supplement act and not in derogation of any other Act;
  • The Consumer Fora constituted under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 are not Civil Courts.
  • A Consumer cannot pursue two remedies for the same cause of action. However, if a Consumer has not approached for redressal of its grievance under RERA, the Consumer can approach the Consumer Fora under the Consumer Protection Act. But, if the Consumer had already approached the Authority under the RERA, he cannot simultaneously file any complaint under the Consumer Protection Act.
  • Mere availability of a right to redress the grievance in a particular Statute will not debar the Complainant/Consumer from approaching the Consumer Fora under the Act.
  • Even though under Sections 14, 15, 18 and 19 of RERA, various provisions have been made which deal with rights and duties of Developer/Promoters, there turn of amount as compensation as also rights and duties of Allottees, yet same cannot mean to limit the right of the Allottee only to approach the Authorities constituted under the RERA, he can still approach the Consumer Fora under the Consumer Protection Act.
  • Section 71 of RERA which gives the power to adjudicate, does not expressly or impliedly bar any person from invoking the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act. It hasalso given a liberty to the person whose Complaint is pending before the Consumer Fora to withdraw it and file before the RERA Authorities.
  • Section 79 of RERA only prohibits the jurisdiction of Civil Court from entertaining any suit or proceeding in respect of any matter which can be decided by the Authorities constituted under the RERA. As the Consumer Fora are not Civil Courts, the provisions of Section 79 which bar the jurisdiction of Civil Courts, will not be attracted. So far as togrant injunction is concerned, only that power has been taken away by Section 79. But, it does not, in any manner, effect the jurisdiction of the Consumer Fora in deciding the Complaints.

The National Commission held that: both, the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and the Real Estate(Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 are supplemental to each other and there is no provision in the Consumer Protection Act which is inconsistent with the provisions of RERA.

National Consumer Helpline
Centre for Consumer Studies , Indian Institute of Public Administration
Toll Free : 14404 , 1800-11-4000 (All days -09.30 AM to 05.30 PM )
SMS to +918130009809 (charges apply) mentioning the name and city .
Website: www.consumerhelpline.gov.in
You can also register your grievance through mobile application 'UMANG' and 'NCH App'