Using CCPA To Shield Consumers
Nidhi Khare,Commissioner, Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)
The country was in the midst of Covid-19 lockdown in July 2020 when central government asked Nidhi Khare, a 1992-batch IAS officer, to take charge as first Chief Commissioner of the just established Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA). It was a daunting task as CCPA was meant to safeguard rights of consumers as a class—a role no Indian regulator had played before. As additional secretary in Department of Consumer Affairs, Khare was already in charge of the National Consumer HelpLine (NCH), but it wasn’t easy to get CCPA, with no staff of its own, on track in the middle of the lockdown. Khare got her NCH team to scrutinise complaints at the helpline. Within weeks, CCPA pulled up 14 companies for misleading claims such as immunity against Covid-19 and protection against coronavirus. All of them stopped making such claims. Soon, GSK Consumer Healthcare had to withdraw an advertisement which used dentists’ endorsement for its Sensodyne toothpaste. The company is legally contesting a penalty. CCPA also pulled up almost every major e-commerce player for enabling sale of products without ISI certification.