The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (COPRA) is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted in 1986 to protect the interests of consumers in India. It makes for the establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumer’s toy and for matters connected there with it also. The act was passed in Assembly in October 1986 and came into force on 24 December 1986.This statue was made before this act.”

Objectives of Central Council

The objectives of the Central Council is to promote and to protect the rights of the consumers such as:-

  1. The right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property.
  2. The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services, as the case may be so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices;
  3. The right to be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices ;
  4. The right to be heard and to be assured that consumer’s interest will receive due consideration at appropriate forums;
  5. The right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers
  6. The right to consumer education.

Consumer protection laws are a form of government regulation that exists at both the federal and state level. There are several government organizations that promote consumer protection such as the Federal Trade Commission which was created in 1914. Their mission is three-fold:

  • To prevent business practices that are anti-competitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers;
  • To enhance informed consumer choice and public understanding of the competitive process, and;
  • To accomplish this without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.

The Better Business Bureau is another organization that works to protect the consumer.

So what are some of the key consumer protection laws you should know? Here are a few important laws that everyone should be aware of:


Facing bankruptcy is obviously not a good financial position to be in. However, should you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, there are three primary forms of bankruptcy under Title 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code that can give an individual, married couple, or a business various types of debt relief. However, do keep in mind that a bankruptcy filing can remain part of a credit record for up to ten years which can limit creditworthiness for an extended period of time. The three types of bankruptcy filings are:

  • Chapter 7- Provides for the total liquidation of an individual’s or business’ assets and liabilities. The debtor is not subject to salary/wage garnishment after filing Chapter 7. State laws vary, but certain property is excluded from liquidation in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, such as a residence. However, some debts cannot be discharged, such as alimony, child support, and borrowed funds used to commit criminal activity. Remember, exclusions and exceptions vary by state.
  • Chapter 13- Similar to Chapter 11, Chapter 13 prohibits creditors from foreclosing on an individual’s or married couple’s debt while allowing the reorganization of personal debt. There are requirements for income relative to debt and limitations on total debt in order to pursue a Chapter 13 filing.
  • Chapter 11- Allows a business or self-employed individual to continue to operate without fear of foreclosure while debts are reorganized under the review of the bankruptcy court. Unlike Chapter 13, the reorganization is subject to approval by a substantive majority of the creditors.

Fair Credit Reporting Laws

Congress has passed several laws that attempt to protect consumers when they obtain or attempt to obtain credit. These are called Fair Credit Reporting Laws. Remember, credit and your credit report are critically important and can be used in a number of ways such as application for credit, insurance applications, and employment applications. A few of the more relevant laws are:

  • Equal Credit Opportunity Act- The Equal Credit Opportunity Act makes it unlawful for any creditor to discriminate against any applicant, with respect to any aspect of a credit transaction, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, or age.
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act (1971), Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act (1996) and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 200- These Acts provide consumers protection from harm due to incorrect credit report information and from invasion of privacy in the collection and dissemination of information, provides consumers with the right to know who is gathering information about them and the nature of the information gathered, and provides consumers with an opportunity to challenge and correct the information that has been collected about them.
  • Fair Credit and Charge Card Disclosure Act- This act requires full disclosure about the terms of the credit card offer, including annual fees, interest rates, and late fees.

Truth in Lending Act

This act requires lenders to provide a written disclosures to borrowers about the terms and cost of consumer loans in a standardized the manner. The disclosure includes the costs associated with borrowing, how they are calculated, and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) they are paying for the loan.

Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act

This act places restrictions on home loans to curtail predatory lending.

Consumer Leasing Act

The Consumer Leasing Act requires a lessor to provide a clear disclosure of important terms used in a lease agreement and a list of all costs charged for a lease.

Electronic Fund Transfer Act

This act minimizes the consumer’s liability if someone uses his or her ATM or debit card without permission.

Privacy Policies

The Federal Trade Commission focuses on many areas in regards to privacy policies. The key areas the FTC addresses are:

  • Unfairness and Deception- Under Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive practices, the FTC enforces the promises made to consumers by companies regarding consumer privacy and the precautions they take to secure personal information of their customers.
  • Financial Privacy- By way of the Gramm-Leach-Billey Act (GLB Act), the FTC works to protect consumers’ personal information held by financial institutions.
  • Identity Theft Protection- The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act (1998) for the first time made identity theft a federal crime and gives consumers specific rights when they become (or believe they have become) the victim of identity theft.

Have you ever been a victim of unfair business conduct or fraud? Be sure that you understand your consumer rights and don’t be afraid to seek help or compensation if you feel that you have been treated unfairly.