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Consumer Protection Law For Senior Citizens : Need Of The Hour

Consumer Protection Law For Senior Citizens : Need Of The Hour


“The number of financial frauds rose to 5,406 in the first six months of the financial year 2022-23 compared with 4,069 in the corresponding period a year ago”: Fortune India.

As per The Maintenance And Welfare Of Parents And Senior Citizens Act, 2007 “senior citizen” means any person is a citizen of India, who has attained the age of sixty years or above. 138 million people in India come under the umbrella of the term “senior citizen”. With the rapid growth in the IT sector and advancement in technologies, the vulnerability of senior citizens encountering fraud has also increased. Due to the vulnerability attributable to their age, they require special consideration. Indian laws such as the consumer protection act being the principal act for consumers, the Indian Contract Act 1872, the Sale of Goods Act 1930, Standards of Weight and Measures Act 1976 endeavour to secure the rights of consumers. The major law that focuses on safeguarding senior citizens is The Maintenance And Welfare Of Parents And Senior Citizens Act, 2007.       


E-commerce, as a concept, is novel and somewhat incomprehensible for senior citizens. Fraudsters take undue advantage of this fact and try to defraud senior citizens. Fraudsters use various kinds of covert tactics to dupe senior citizens of their valuables.


Among others, impersonation as a public officer is the most common tactic applied by fraudsters to dupe senior citizens. The amiable nature of the senior citizens and the respect they hold for public authorities make them fall prey to fraudsters. Daily reporting in newspapers provides a clear picture of the increase in such incidents. KYC fraud in Mumbai: 3 dupe senior citizens of Rs 1 lakh—a recent report of TOI read.

“The complainant alleged that he received a call from a person who identified himself as the customer care executive of Tata AIG Insurance and offered him a pre-approved loan of Rs 1.10 crore. The accused person then collected Rs 42 lakh from the man in the guise of processing fees, refundable charges and other documentation fees,”– a TOI report read.

Intermediary Fraud

One of the most common frauds among others is insurance fraud. At this phase of life senior citizens are susceptible to ailment and they seek security, both financial and physical, through various insurance schemes and policies. This fraud is committed by the insurance agents, corporate agents, and intermediaries against the insured. Under some circumstances, the intermediaries may even assure the potential policyholder to provide them insurance even without fulfilling the formalities. Consequently, defrauding the potential policyholder, insurance companies or both.

E-payment fraud

Expecting the elderly to have earned much throughout their lives, they are cyber criminals’ preferred soft targets for e-payment frauds. Their Hard earned money is syphoned off from their accounts by the fraudsters using various tactics such as QR code frauds, online shopping frauds, OTP frauds, etc.

There is not an iota of doubt regarding the fact that the younger generation has competently adopted the e-payment and e-commerce concept in every sphere of life. But for the elderly to accept this concept equally as the younger generation, to some extent, is impossible. Owing to their age, the elderly struggle adapting this concept comprehensively and consequently encounter frauds.


Affluence: Owing to the age of senior citizens, there is apprehension in the minds of fraudsters that senior citizens may have made a lot of fortune throughout their life and saved it to meet their old age needs.     

Trusting nature: Generally, the elderly are polite and have a trusting nature towards others. More often than not, fraudsters take undue advantage of this demeanour in defrauding the elderly.    

Lack of awareness: Fraudsters are very much aware of the fact that the concept of e-commerce and e-payment is new and difficult for the elderly to understand; adapt; use, and they are still struggling in embracing it.     

Age factor: As people grow old, their cognitive strength deteriorates. Their incapacity to deal with complex situations invites the fraudsters to target them on priority.



As per the directive principle enshrined in the Constitution of India, article 41, discuss the “Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases.—The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want”.

Before the enactment of The Maintenance And Welfare Of Parents And Senior Citizens Act, 2007, there was no separate legislation that focused on elderly citizens. This act majorly focuses on the protection and maintenance of the parents by their children.

The government has implemented various schemes and policies such as the National Policy for Older People, 1999, the National Policy on Older Persons, Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, which focuses on the dignity of old age people. With the implementation of these schemes, the government has strived to provide old age people with monetary and emotional support.    


The state has endeavoured to protect and support the elderly, financially and physically, by implementing various schemes, and legislation from time to time; from various e-commerce and cybercrimes by enacting laws like Consumer Protection Act and IT act. All the legislation implemented discusses protecting the elderly financially by various aids and maintenance but, the state turns a blind eye towards the need of protecting the elderly as a “consumer”. Even though there is no doubt pertaining to the fact that senior citizens are the most vulnerable to fraud as they are easy targets for fraudsters, none of the legislation in force discusses and protects the elderly as a “consumer”.

Though The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 safeguards consumers from various ill practices and provides consumers with a three-tier redressal mechanism, it does not provide any specific mechanism for the speedy disposal of complaints by senior citizens. Considering the feebleness of the senior citizens, their complaints must be addressed and disposed of on priority. A swift and efficient mechanism that prioritises the grievances of senior citizens is the need of the hour.

There is a clear upward trend in fraud, particularly technology-related fraud. Every year, new cyber-related scams emerge, such as investment, impersonation, insurance scams, romance fraud, and cryptocurrency fraud. Fraud is clearly a worldwide problem. The next section discusses mechanisms to curb fraud in the US and UK.


The Senior Consumer Protection Act assists seniors in protecting themselves from financial predators. It enables senior consumers (those aged 60 and up) to take legal action against individuals who knowingly and unscrupulously obtain control of seniors’ assets and property. If an attorney suspects that a senior consumer has been taken advantage of, the attorney can file a case against them. Attorneys can recover legal fees, civil penalties, and treble damages under the Senior Consumer Protection Act. A senior consumer who prevails in an action may also be awarded reasonable attorney fees by the court.


The Fraud Act 2006 is one of the legal mechanisms in England and Wales for combating fraud (FrA 2006). Following a Law Commission Report into the law on fraud in 2002, FrA 2006 was enacted. The goal of FrA 2006 was to simplify fraud law and to create a general statutory offence of fraud. Moreover, the Financial Conduct Authority has put in place a specific strategy to examine whether financial services are working in the best interests of older consumers in the UK. The Strategy takes into account older consumers (those over the age of 55) in sectors such as retail banking, mortgages, and insurance, among others. In addition, the FCA has published its consumer approach, which includes safeguarding vulnerable consumers, such as the elderly, as well as access to financial services and the ageing population.


Senior citizens are a vital part of our lives and they require special care and consideration. They are struggling, yet trying to embrace the swift and digital modern life. In the process, they are facing serious challenges– frauds. It has become essential to provide them with cushioning by making necessary amendments in the legislation. Senior citizens as  “consumers” require special consideration. 

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