Consumer Protection Act – Rights and Responsibilities

Consumer Protection Act

Consumer Protection Act refers to protecting the interest of the consumer. An analysis of marketing management has made it clear that the consumer is a kingpin in the market.

The producer should produce goods keeping in mind the requirements of consumers and satisfy the consumer but it is observed that this obligation is neglected by some businessmen and they are involved in unfair practices such as the supply of substandard quality, adulteration, etc.

So there is a need for Consumer Protection.  Hence consumer protection means protecting the interest of consumers.

The Consumer Protection Act 1986. The enactment of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 was one of the most important steps taken to protect the interest of consumers. The provision of the act came into force on July 1, 1987.

The main features of this act are:

  • This act has provided various rights and responsibilities to consumers.
  • It provides safeguard to consumers against defective goods, deficient, unfair trade practices, and other forms of their exploitation.
  • The act has provided three-tier redressal agencies where consumers can file complaints. These are the district forum, State commission, and national commission.

Importance of Consumer Protection Act

From Consumer’s Point of view:

1.Consumer Ignorance: Consumer protection provides information to ignorant customers regarding rights and remedies available to them. It spread awareness so that consumers can know about the various agencies where they can approach to protect their interests.

2.Unorganised consumers: In developing countries like India, consumers are not organized. There are very few consumer organizations that are working to protect the interest of consumers. Consumer Protection encourages the establishment of more consumer organizations. Consumer Protection provides power and rights to these organizations as these organizations can file cases on behalf of customers.

3.Widespread Exploitation of Consumers: Although nowadays consumer is the king of the market then also there is a lot of exploitation of consumers as businessmen use various unfair trade practices to cheat and exploit consumers. Consumer Protection provides a safeguard to consumers from such exploitation.

From Businessmen’s Point of view:

1.Long- term Interest of Business: After the liberalization and globalization the level of competition has increased so much that not only internal but business has to face internal competition. In the race of competition, the businessman can win and capture a big share in the market only when they are able to satisfy its customer by designing the products keeping in mind the requirement of the customer.

2.Social Responsibilities: A businessman has social obligations towards various groups and the customer is one of the important groups. It is the responsibility of businessmen to provide quality goods at a reasonable price. Customer protection guide businessmen to provide social responsibilities.

3.Consumer is the Purpose of Business: The basic purpose of business is to create more and more customers and retain them and businessmen can create more customers only by satisfying the customers and protecting the interest of consumers. The customer is the foundation of business.

Consumer Rights

1.Right to Safety: According to this right the consumer has the right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property. This right is important for a safe and secure life. This right includes concern for consumer’s long-term interests as well as for their present requirement. Sometimes the manufacturing defects in pressure cookers, gas cylinders, and other electrical appliances may cause loss to life, health, and property of customers. This right to safety protects the consumer from the sale of such hazardous goods or services.

2.  Right to Information: According to this right the consumer has the right to get information about the quality, quantity, purity, standard, and price of goods or services so as to protect himself against abusive and unfair practices. The producer must supply all the relevant information at a suitable place.

 3. Right to make choice: According to this right every consumer has the right to choose the goods or services of his or her likings. The right to choose means an assurance of availability, ability, and access to a variety of products and services at competitive prices and competitive price means just or fair price. The producer or supplier or retailer should not force the customer to buy a particular brand only. Consumers should be free to choose the most suitable product from their point of view.

4.Right to be Heard or Right to Representation: According to this right the consumer has the right to represent himself or to be heard or right to advocate his interest. In case a consumer has been exploited or has any complaint against the product or services then he has the right to be heard and be assured that his or her interest would receive due consideration. This right includes the right to representation in the government and in other policy-making bodies. Under this right, the companies must have the complaint cells to attend to the complaints of customers.

5.Right to Seek Redressal: According to this right, the consumer has the right to get compensation or seek redressal against unfair trade practices or any other exploitation. This right assures justice to consumers against exploitation. The right to redressal includes compensation in the form of money or replacement of goods or repair of defects in the goods as per the satisfaction of the consumer.  Various redressal forums are set up by the government at the national level and state level.

6.Right to Consumer Education: According to this right it is the right of consumers to acquire the knowledge and skills to be informed to customers. It is easier for literate consumers to know their rights and take action but this right assures that illiterate consumers can seek information about the existing act and agencies are set up for their protection. The Government of India has included consumer education in the school curriculum and in various University courses.

Consumer’s Responsibilities

1.Consumer must Exercise his Right: Under Consumer Protection Act the consumer is granted various right such as the right to safety, right to choose, right to be heard, etc. but these rights will be useful only when the consumer exercises these rights. The consumer must select the product according to his preferences, he was file a complaint if he is not satisfied with the quality of the product, he must be aware of his rights and exercise them whenever required.

2.Cautious Consumer: The consumer should not blindly believe in the words of the seller. He must insist on getting full information on the quality, quantity, utility, price, etc of the goods or services.

3.Filling complaints about the Redressal of Genuine Grievances: Most of the time consumers ignores the loss he suffers on purchase of defective goods and services but this attitude of not filing a complaint and encourages the correct businessmen to supply a low standard or defective goods and services. The consumer must file a complaint even for a small loss. This awareness among consumers will make the sellers more conscious of to supply of quality products.

4.Consumer must be Quality- Conscious: The problems of supply of substandard goods, adulterated products, and duplicate products can be solved only when the consumer himself stops compromising the quality of the product. While purchasing the goods or services consumer must look for a quality mark such as ISI mark, Agmark, ISO, etc.

5.Insist on Cash Memo: To file a complaint the consumer needs evidence of purchase, and a cash memo is evidence or proof that the consumers have paid for the goods or services. A seller is bound to give a cash memo even if the buyer does not ask for it. To file a complaint and get compensation the consumer must ask for a cash memo.

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