Guidelines about Consumer Rights in Pakistan

Consumer rights in Pakistan are protected and defined by the Pakistan Consumer Protection Act of 2005. According to this legislation, a consumer is someone who buys or obtains a product on lease or hires services for consideration.

The Act emphasizes the United Nations guidelines on consumer protection, ensuring that consumers have eight fundamental rights, including the right to basic needs, safety, information, choice, representation, redress, education, and a healthy environment.

To safeguard these rights, consumers are encouraged to actively participate by registering complaints in Consumer Courts or with relevant authorities. Violations of the Consumer Protection Act may lead to legal action, including fines, imprisonment, and compensation.

The Act aims to create a fair marketplace where consumers are informed, protected, and have avenues for redress in case of grievances.

Consumer Rights According to UN Guidelines

The United Nations outlines eight fundamental consumer rights, providing a global perspective on consumer protection. These rights include:

1. Right to Basic Needs: Ensuring access to essential goods and services.

2. Right to Safety:  Protection from hazardous products or services.

3. Right to be Informed: Access to information about products and services.

4. Right to Choose: Freedom to select from a variety of products and services.

5. Right to Representation / be Heard: The right to express opinions and concerns.

6. Right to Redress: Seeking compensation for faulty products or services.

7. Right to Consumer Education: Access to information to make informed choices.

8. Right to a Healthy Environment: Ensuring products and services don’t harm the environment.

Basics understanding of rights should be know every consumer in Pakistan

But there are many Questions in Consumer mind

Protecting Consumer Rights

Enforcement of consumer protection laws by the government alone is insufficient; active consumer participation is essential. Consumers can safeguard their rights by registering complaints in Consumer Courts or with the relevant authorities, such as the Deputy Commissioner, demonstrating the power of collective consumer action.

Available Remedies for Violations

Upon violation of the PCPA, a consumer can file a claim before the Consumer Court. Violators may face imprisonment, fines up to PKR 100,000, or both, in addition to damages or compensation determined by the court. No court fee is required for filing a claim.

For specific grievances, consumers may file complaints before the Authority/Deputy Commissioner, who can impose fines on violators up to PKR 50,000. Such grievances include non-disclosure of product details, capabilities of service providers, non-exhibition of price lists, and non-issuance of receipts.

Where to File Complaints

Complaints can be lodged with either the Consumer Court or the Authority (Deputy Commissioner), offering flexibility for consumers seeking redressal.

Procedure for Filing Complaints/Claims

Before Consumer Court:

1. Serve a 15-day legal notice to the provider of defective products or faulty services.

2. If unresolved, file a case on plain paper within 15 days of the legal notice.

3. Cases can be filed personally or through a lawyer, with no court fee required.

Before Authority/DC:

1. File a complaint on plain paper for violations of specific sections of the Act.

2. No legal notice is required for filing complaints before the Authority.

Understanding “Damage”

“Damage” encompasses all harm caused by a product or service, including damage to the product, economic loss, or loss of use, as defined in Section 2(d) of the Act.

Obligations of Manufacturers and Service Providers

Manufacturers are liable for damages caused by a product’s characteristics, rendering it defective. Service providers are similarly liable for damages caused by their services.

Claiming Damages

Consumers can file claims for damages in Consumer Courts, with compensation tailored to suffered losses, and there is no predetermined limit.

Consumer Guidelines for Rights Protection

consumer guidlines

Consumers are advised to:

– Check product details before purchase.

– Read ingredients and instructions.

– Insist on rate lists for products/services.

– Always obtain receipts.

– Inquire about service providers’ qualifications.

– Understand return and refund policies.

– Check product design and standards.

– Ensure product safety and warnings.

Remedy Against Bait Advertisement

Section 22 of the Act covers bait advertising, offering protection against deceptive practices.

Limitations and Prerequisites for Filing Complaints

– A 30-day limitation exists for filing complaints.

– A 15-day legal notice is required before filing a claim in Consumer Court.

Right of Appeal

Consumers have the right to appeal within 30 days of a Consumer Court’s final order. Appeals can be filed with the Lahore High Court or the Government (Secretary, Industries, Commerce, Investment & Skills Development Department).

In conclusion, understanding and actively exercising consumer rights is essential for a fair and transparent marketplace. By following established procedures and guidelines, consumers can contribute to a system that values their protection and well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Consumer Rights in Pakistan

What is a consumer under the Pakistan Consumer Protection Act (PCPA) 2005?

A consumer, as defined in Section 2(c) of the PCPA 2005, is an individual who buys, leases, or hires products or services for consideration, excluding those obtaining products for resale or commercial purposes.

What are the fundamental rights outlined for consumers in Pakistan?

Consumers in Pakistan have eight basic rights, including the right to basic needs, safety, information, choice, representation, redress, education, and a healthy environment, as per the UN guidelines on consumer protection.

How can consumer rights be protected in Pakistan?

Consumer rights can be protected by actively participating in the process. Consumers are encouraged to register complaints in Consumer Courts or with relevant authorities, such as the Deputy Commissioner, to address grievances.

What remedies are available for consumers in case of violations?

In case of violations, consumers can file claims before the Consumer Court, which may lead to fines, imprisonment, or compensation determined by the court. No court fee is required for filing a claim.

Can consumers file complaints against specific grievances without going to court?

Yes, consumers can file complaints before the Authority/Deputy Commissioner for specific grievances, such as non-disclosure of product details, capabilities of service providers, non-exhibition of price lists, or non-issuance of receipts. Fines may be imposed on violators.

What does “damage” mean under the PCPA 2005?

“Damage” includes harm caused by a product or service, encompassing damage to the product itself and economic losses arising from a deficiency in or loss of use of the product or service, as defined in Section 2(d) of the Act.

What are the obligations of manufacturers and service providers under the Act?

Manufacturers are liable for damages caused by a characteristic of the product that renders it defective. Service providers are similarly liable for damages caused by the provision of services.

Is there a limitation for filing complaints in court?

Yes, consumers have a 30-day limitation for filing complaints from the arising of the cause of action.

Is there a pre-requisite for filing a claim in Consumer Court?

Yes, a 15-day legal notice is a pre-requisite for filing a claim in Consumer Court.

Is there a right of appeal available under the Consumer Protection Act?

Yes, consumers have the right of appeal. An aggrieved person may file an appeal in the Lahore High Court within 30 days of the final order of the Consumer Court, and an appeal may also be filed before the Government within 30 days against the order of the Authority.

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