Consumer Rights and Role
Consumers have certain rights that protect them from unfair business practices. These rights include the right to safety, the right to be informed, the right to choose, the right to be heard, and the right to redressal. By understanding and exercising these rights, customers can protect themselves as a consumer and hold businesses accountable for their actions.
The rights of the consumers are given as follows:
1) Right to Safety
The right to safety ensures that the products and services a customer purchases are safe and free from harm. Customers have the right to safety for those products which are harmful to their health, property and life of the customers. For example, low-quality food products (bread, milk, jam, butter, etc.), appliances made of low-quality raw material (electric press, pressure cooker, etc.), spurious and sub-standard drugs, etc. The loss which is resulted from these products must be compensated to the customer.
2) Right to be Informed/Right to Representation
The right to be informed means that businesses must provide a consumer with accurate and complete information about their products and services. Consumers have the right to have all the information about the products and services. Depending upon such information, the customer can decide on the purchase of a certain product or service. The information related to quality, quantity, price, potency, date of manufacture, and method of use of the product should be provided to the customers by the producer in a proper manner so that the consumer chooses the right product.
3) Right to Choose
The right to choose allows customers to make informed decisions about what they buy among the large variety of products and services available in the market. The customer has the right to select a particular product/service depending upon his or her choice. In simple words, the producer cannot use any unfair means to influence the customer’s choice. If some attempts are made, it will be treated as interference with the right to choose.
4) Right to be Heard
The right to be heard means that a consumer has the right to voice his opinions and concerns about a product or service. They have the right that their complaints to be heard. According to this right, a customer can file a complaint against all the parties which are deemed to be prejudicial to his interest. Unless the customer has the right to file the complaint, all the above-stated rights (Right to safety, Right to be informed and Right to choose) become meaningless. For facilitating the right to be heard, various consumer service cells have been established by many large organisations, whose main purpose is to hear customer complaints alongwith redress them by taking adequate measures.
5) Right to Seek Redressal
The right to redressal ensures that a consumer has access to legal remedies if they are harmed by any product or service that they have used. As per this right, compensation will be provided to customers for the unfair trade practices of the seller. For example, compensation can be claimed by the buyer if the quality and quantity of the product do not match the claims. There are several methods by which compensation can be provided to the customers such as taking back the defective product, or a refund of money. repairing the defective product, changing the product, etc.
6) Right to Consumer Education
Providing continuous education regarding the rights of the consumer is known as the right to consumer education. In simple words, customers should know their different consumer rights if they face any kind of loss due to defective goods and services. To educate the customers, different types of measures have been initiated by the government. For example, “Upbhokta Jagran” is a quarterly magazine published by the Ministry of Civil Supplies. “Doordarshan telecasts Sanrakshan Upbhokta Ka” program and on March 15 every year, Consumer Day is observed.
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