Consumer Rights,Consumer Awareness is an act of making sure the buyer or consumer is aware of the information about products, goods, services, and consumers rights. Consumer awareness is important so that buyer can take the right decision and make the right choice. Consumers have the right to information, right to choose, right to safety. Let us learn more about Consumer rights, responsibilities and consumer awareness in detail.
Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
Consumer Rights is an insight into what rights consumer holds when it comes to seller which provide the goods. What if the goods provided to the consumer by the business is not up to the standard? Then in that case – what should a consumer do? To be precise, what rights consumer have is in the court of law to fight against the malpractices of the business firms or seller.
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Consumer Awareness & Its need
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Brief Idea about Consumer Rights
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Consumer Protection Councils
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Browse more Topics under Consumer Protection
Intro & Importance of Consumer Protection
Consumer Protection Act
Legal Protection to Consumers
Consumer Organisations and NGOs
Right to Safety: This is the first and the most important of the Consumer Rights. They should be protected against the product that hampers their safety. The protection must be against any product which could be hazardous to their health – Mental, Physical or many of the other factors.
Right to Information: They should be informed about the product. The product packaging should list the details which should be informed to the consumer and they should not hide the same or provide false information.
Right to Choose: They should not be forced to select the product. A consumer should be convinced of the product he is about to choose and should make a decision by himself. This also means consumer should have a variety of articles to choose from. Monopolistic practices are not legal.
Right to Heard: If a consumer is dissatisfied with the product purchased then they have all the right to file a complaint against it. And the said complaint cannot go unheard, it must be addressed in an appropriate time frame.
Right to Seek Redressal: In case a product is unable to satisfy the consumer then they have the right to get the product replaced, compensate, return the amount invested in the product. We have a three-tier system of redressal according to the Consumer Protection Act 1986.
Right to Consumer Education: Consumer has the right to know all the information and should be made well aware of the rights and responsibilities of the government. Lack of Consumer awareness is the most important problem our government must solve.
Learn more about Intro and Importance of Consumer Protection here in detail.
Responsibilities of a Consumer
The consumer has a certain responsibility to carry as an aware consumer can bring changes in the society and would help other consumers to fight the unfair practice or be aware of it.
They should be aware of their rights under the Consumer Protection Act and should practice the same in case of need.
They should be well aware of the product they are buying. Should act as a cautious consumer while purchasing the product.
If in case a product is found of anything false or not satisfactory a complaint should be filed.
The consumer should ask for a Cash Memo while making a purchase.
A customer should check for the standard marks that have been introduced for the authenticity of the quality of the product like ISI or Hallmark etc.
What Is the Meaning of Consumer Awareness?
Consumer Awareness is the process of making the consumer of goods and services aware of his rights. It involves educating a consumer about safety, information and the redressal options available to him.
As previously discussed consumer awareness is one of the most persistent problems the government faces when it comes to consumer protection. To resolve this problem the government has come up with various methods over the years. In fact, it is the main aim of the Department of Consumer Affairs.
Consumer Awareness in India
One of the most important and successful Consumer Awareness campaign in recent times has been the “Jago Grahak Jago” campaign. You must have certainly come across it. It is a great example of successful consumer awareness.
Learn more about Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (COPRA) here.
Solved Question for You
Question: Explain the following rights: (a) The right to safety (b)The right to consumer education.
Ans: Let us take a look at the two rights:
The right to safety: It refers to the right to be protected against products, production processes and services that endanger the physical health or well being of the consumer.
The right to consumer education: It refers to a right that protects the consumer from various large companies of the products and services they sell. It is basically about informing people and giving them the required knowledge for living in a consumer society. These rights and exercises must be followed by every consumer.
Consumer Rights 2020
Right to safety
Means right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services, which are hazardous to life and property. The purchased goods and services availed of should not only meet their immediate needs, but also fulfil long term interests. Before purchasing, consumers should insist on the quality of the products as well as on the guarantee of the products and services. They should preferably purchase quality marked products such as ISI,AGMARK, etc
Right to choose
Means right to be assured, wherever possible of access to variety of goods and services at competitive price. In case of monopolies, it means right to be assured of satisfactory quality and service at a fair price. It also includes right to basic goods and services. This is because unrestricted right of the minority to choose can mean a denial for the majority of its fair share. This right can be better exercised in a competitive market where a variety of goods are available at competitive prices
Right to be informed
Means right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices. Consumer should insist on getting all the information about the product or service before making a choice or a decision. This will enable him to act wisely and responsibly and also enable him to desist from falling prey to high pressure selling techniques.
Right to consumer education
Means the right to acquire the knowledge and skill to be an informed consumer throughout life. Ignorance of consumers, particularly of rural consumers, is mainly responsible for their exploitation. They should know their rights and must exercise them. Only then real consumer protection can be achieved with success.
Right to be heard
Means that consumer’s interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums. It also includes right to be represented in various forums formed to consider the consumer’s welfare. The Consumers should form non-political and non-commercial consumer organizations which can be given representation in various committees formed by the Government and other bodies in matters relating to consumers.
Right to Seek redressal
Means right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers. It also includes right to fair settlement of the genuine grievances of the consumer. Consumers must make complaint for their genuine grievances.Many a times their complaint may be of small value but its impact on the society as a whole may be very large. They can also take the help of consumer organisations in seeking redressal of their grievances.
As the markets are globalizing, the direct link between the manufacturer and the final user getting distant, post purchase grievances have to be heard through a strong redressal system. For this, Consumer disputes redressal agencies (popularly known as Consumer Forums or Consumer Courts) are set up under the Act at District, State and National level to provide simple and inexpensive quick redressal against consumer complaints. The District forum deals with complaints where the compensation sought is less than 23 lakhs. This limit is commonly known as the ‘pecuniary jurisdiction’ of the Consumer Redressal Forum. The State Forum deals with the complaints where the value of the goods and services and compensation claimed does not exceed rupees one crore and the National Forum entertains the complaints where the value of the goods or services and compensation claimed exceeds rupees one crore.
The Consumer Forum can order the company to take the following actions once it hears the complaint and decides that the company is at fault:
- Correct deficiencies in the product to what they claim.
- Repair defect free of charges
- Replace product with similar or superior product
- Issue a full refund of the price
- Pay compensation for damages / costs / inconveniences
- Withdraw the sale of the product altogether
- Discontinue or not repeat any unfair trade practice or the restrictive trade practice
- Issue corrective advertisement for any earlier misrepresentation
Consumer Protection Act
“An Act to provide for better protection of the interests of consumers and for that purpose to make provision for the establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumers’ disputes and for matters connected therewith.”(According to Consumer Protection Act, 1986).
Consumer Protection Act, 1986 seeks to promote and protect the interest of consumers against deficiencies and defects in goods or services. It also seeks to secure the rights of a consumer against unfair or restrictive trade practices. This act was passed in Lok Sabha on 9th December,1986 and Rajya Sabha on 10th December, 1986 and assented by the President of India on 24th December, 1986 and was published in the Gazette of India on 26th December, 1986.
- Have you faced any problems as a consumer?
- Have you ever complained when you have had such a problem?
- Do you know that you could seek the assistance of a consumer group to protect your interests?
Be Critically Aware
- The responsibility to be more alert and to question more – about prices, about quantity and quality of goods bought and services used.
- The responsibility to be assertive – to ensure that you get a fair deal as a consumer. Remember, if you are passive, you are likely to be exploited.
- The responsibility to join hands and raise voices as consumers; to fight in a collective and to develop the strength and influence to promote and protect consumer interest.
Practice Sustainable Consumption
- The responsibility to be aware of the impact of your consumption on other citizens, especially the disadvantaged or powerless groups; and to consume based on needs – not wants.
Be Responsible to the Environment
- The responsibility to be aware and to understand the environmental consequences of our consumption. We should recognize our individual and social responsibility to conserve natural resources and protect the earth for future generations.
Consumer Rights Vs Responsibilities
|1||Right to be heard||1. Ensure that the company has provided you the contact details of the consumer grievance handling system and are easily accessible.|
2. Avoid purchase of products/services from a company which do not provide
details of the consumer grievance officers to handle consumer grievances
|2||Right to Redress||1. Ignoring the loss suffered on purchase of defective goods and services and not filing complaint encourages the corrupt business man to supply low standards or defective goods and services. Therefor file a complaint even for a small loss. File only a genuine complaint.|
2. Consumer must file a complaint if not satisfied with the quality of product/services.
3. Claim the penalties/compensation as provided under rules and regulations to ensure that the quality delivery system improves.
4. Study carefully all terms and conditions related to return/replacement of defective goods, refund and warranty policies.
|3||Right to Safety||1. While purchasing the goods or services, Consumer must look for standard|
quality mark such as ISI, Hallmark, Agmark, ISO, FSSAI , etc.
2. Do not buy any spurious/ fake/duplicate/ hazardous products
|4||Right to Consumer Education/ Right to be Informed||1. Do not get carried away by advertisements only or believe on the words of the seller. Consumer must look market reviews/feedback. Similarly inform offers if product and services of companies are of substandard.|
2. Consumer must insist on getting complete information on the quality, quantity, utility, price etc. of the product or services.
3. Ask for complete contact details of the consumer grievance mechanism of the company the consumer wish to buy from
|5||Right to Choose||1. Access the information available on various alternatives available for the product and services under purchase consideration.|
2. Compare specifications, competition and fair prices of the goods and services before finalizing on the purchase
3. Study various feedbacks/reviews of the products/services
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