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PRODUCT LIABILITY IN INDIA

WHAT IS PRODUCT LIABILITY ?

Product liability refers to the manufacturer or product seller who has been held liable for selling the defective goods to the consumer. In these situations, the consumer enforces Consumer Protection Act and the consumer should not be harmed with the products purchased from the seller. In general, terms, when a product has an unexpected defect, the product cannot be said to meet the expectation of the customer. A suit can be filed in a civil court of the State as product liability laws are state laws, therefore the laws can vary from one state to another state.   

WHO IS LIABLE FOR PRODUCT LIABILITY ?

  • The Product Manufacturer
  • Manufacturer of component parts
  • The party who installs and assembles the product
  • The Wholesaler
  • The Retailer

TYPES OF DEFECTS

Design  Defect :  Design defect is the flaw in the design of the product which may harm the entire product and is capable of causing hazardous situation for customers.

Manufacturing  Defect :  Manufacturing Defect is caused during the production of the item. If the product is perfectly designed, but the defect is in production of the product, this will lead to the manufacturing defect. The products which have caused problem during manufacturing, only those products will be dangerous.

Marketing  Defect :  It deals with the defect in warning and instruction included in a product. This defect comes into the picture when the manufacturer fails to provide proper instruction and warning in the product to help the customer to avoid any injuries.

THEORIES OF PRODUCT LIABILITY

Breach of Warranty :  The theory of Breach of Warranty concerns with seller’s failure to fulfill the terms and condition, claims, promises made about the product. The theory mainly deals with the contract law and it is believed that contract exists between the seller and consumer. A warranty is like a guarantee given by the seller. There must be direct contract between the seller and injured person.

Three different types of warranty : Express Warranty; Implied Warranty of merchantability; Implied Warranty of fitness.  

In Express Warranty, the statement is given by the seller. Implied Warranty of merchantability means the product should meet the market expectations. Implied Warranty of fitness means the product will fulfill the purpose for which it has been created.

Negligence : Then second theory of product liability is Negligence. When a person’s or company’s negligence causes damage to the consumer, the negligent party can be held liable for this situation. Negligence is the lack of care towards the product. In negligence, not only will the seller be liable for the injuries but also the people in the  chain of distribution.

Also read about Consumer Protection ACT 2019

Strict  Liability  :  In the case of Strict Liability, it allows the injured party to claim for the damages from the manufacturer or seller. Any person falling under the chain of distribution can be liable for the compensation.  A defendant is liable when the plaintiff proves the defect in the product.

This article is written by Tanya Singh and edited by Rupreet Kaur Dhariwal.

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