Consumer protection is one of the emerging issues in today’s fast-paced materialistic world. All too often, we hear cases of adulteration, high price, poor quality, black marketing etc. posing risks to the health and safety of the consumers. Commercial Ads are out almost on a daily basis introducing new products and services. Markets are inundated with new but spurious products and services.
In the wake of this growing consumerism, people remain vulnerable to all sorts of market abuses and exploitations by unscrupulous traders, manufacturers, and service providers for quick profits. Therefore, it has become imperative for the government to ensure rights, safety, and access to accurate market information of the consumers, including, inter alia, protection from unfair trade practices, false and misleading advertising, and abuse of monopoly power. It is precisely for these reasons that the Parliament of the Kingdom of Bhutan has enacted the Consumer Protection Act 2012 on the 16th January 2012.
Establishment of the Office of Consumer Protection
The Office of Consumer Protection was established as per Chapter 12, Section 88 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2012 wherein it is stipulated that:
“An Office of Consumer Protection shall be established under the Ministry of Economic Affairs”.
The office came into existence officially in Feb 2014. As a statutory agency under MoEA the OCP is mandated to promote and protect economic interest and safety of the consumers, raise awareness on consumers’ rights and responsibilities, and ensure redressal of their grievances. The Office is headed by an Executive Director. Its functional powers and mandates are derived from the Consumer Protection Act and the Rules thereof.