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Soon, users can choose power DISCOM, says Goyal

With the government planning to bring in a series of amendments to the Electricity Act, 2003, consumers will soon get the choice of selecting their power supply company, said Minister for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal recently. The move is aimed at reducing the losses of DISCOMs as well as improving overall electricity supply.

However, according to K.K. Bajaj, Chief General Manager, CERS, this will not benefit consumers despite increase in competition. “Suppliers will have to set up new infrastructure, wire lines and increase their manpower. Their costs will increase putting extra burden on consumers,” he said.

Internet frauds: Banks cannot wash their hands off

Banks have been told to be more responsive to customers’ requests for information in cases of net frauds. The Central Information Commission (CIC) has issued a relevant order while dealing with an RTI plea on the hacking of a trader’s bank account in Kolhapur, Maharashtra.

It is desirable that at the end of the investigations, the banks concerned make public a list of their findings, listing precautions they have taken and those they would like customers to follow, the order said. The order is significant as bankers are prompt to wash their hands off saying they cannot be held responsible as most cases happen ‘due to customer’s negligence’.

Consumer courts should take up individual grievances: DoT

The telecom department (DoT) has suggested that individual customer grievances must be redressed by consumer courts and not the sector regulator. However, DoT has maintained that class action limited to licenced telecom services should be left to Trai for legal enforcement.

“Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) does not have the wherewithal to resolve individual grievances (of telecom customers) effectively and efficiently and consumers may find it more convenient to approach consumer courts,” DoT said in an internal note to the consumer affairs department. The note is part of DoT’s recommendations on the amendments to the Consumer Protection Act of 1986.

Ponzi crackdown: SEBI orders refund of over Rs 60K cr

Armed with new powers to check illegal money pooling schemes, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) asked 117 entities in 2014 to refund more than Rs 60,000 crore to defrauded investors and the crackdown is set to get stronger in 2015.

As many as 49 out of 117 companies are based in West Bengal. Under the amended securities laws, SEBI has been given sweeping powers like attachment of properties, launch of recovery proceedings, seeking call data records to investigate cases and ordering search and seizure against manipulators and fraudsters.

Healthcare ads most misleading, says ASCI

Personal and healthcare companies are major offenders when it comes to misleading consumers through advertisements, according to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). In November last year, out of 113 advertisements against which the ASCI upheld complaints, 61 belonged to this category.

For instance, the advertisement of Goodknight, mosquito repellent manufactured by Godrej Consumer Products, shows a child standing near the mosquito vaporizer, whereas the product’s leaflet says it should be kept away from children. Also, ASCI found that the advertisement in which Lifebuoy (Hindustan Unilever) claims to provide “10x more germ protection” and “10x more skin care” than any other soap was not substantiated.

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