Consumer Rights

Consumer Rights and Role

Table of Content:-

Consumer Rights

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 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.

Factors Contributing to Consumerism

Factors that contribute to consumerism are discussed below:

1) Globalisation:

It has been observed that economic activities are evolutionary by nature. To be efficient, economies expand or contract by eliminating the manufacturers that are not performing well. Through innovations in features and procedures of production, economic revolutionary activities periodically change the character of business transactions. Recently, the globalisation of the economy has been affecting evenly on both fronts. As the economies are working in an environment of high competition, they are expanding and contracting to prepare themselves to face and survive in this competitive environment.

2) New Organisational Technologies:

The present era is an era of knowledge. With the development and innovation in technology, knowledge is now available at the fingertips of the consumer. Consumerism has spread like fire in all the economies throughout the world through the advent and innovation of computers, mobile technology, the internet and social network. Now, marketers and advertisers cannot take consumers lightly.

3) Unprecedented Market Competition:

Domestic producers and manufacturers are facing severe competition due to the rise of globalisation. Due to this, the marketing activities of agencies working around the world and their businesses are not only affected by regional policies but also by any activity happening in the remotest area of a small village or city. For example, the failing of banking institutions in a country may significantly affect other economies across the world. Similarly, earthquake in a country may result in a loss of production in some other country.

4) Misleading and Deceptive Advertising:

To communicate all sorts of information about their corporate image, inform about their product or services and marketing strategies to the consumer, advertisers, marketers and manufacturers use advertising. Marketers and consumers get linked together through these advertisements as they create a bond of trust and faith.

5) Unfair Trade Practices:

Unfair trade practices can be easily spotted in a competitive marketplace; they vary from industry to industry. Such unfair practices can be pursued by a single marketer or by the whole industry. Many times, it has been found that marketers form a union to carry out such activities that are not in the interest of the public. In the pre-globalisation period, Indian consumers faced the union of producers in almost every kind of industry. In the seller’s market. Indian consumers have faced such unionism in various industries like the cement industry, steel industry, automobile and spare part industries, etc.

Role of Consumerism

The field of providing protection and support to the customer can be promoted in many developing countries through consumerism by exerting moral, economic and legal pressure on producers and sellers. The role of consumerism is discussed below:

1) Enhancement in Supply: The shortage of supply results due to hoarding and black marketing practices of traders. The producers can control such defects in distribution with the support of customers.

2) Eradicating Unfair Trade Practices: All unfair trade practices will come to an end and sellers will stop taking customers for granted if the rights of customers are protected and promoted.

3) Better Relationships: As feedback will be provided to the producers from consumerism, the needs and wants of the customers can be easily understood by the producers which will establish friendly relationships between the consumers and producers.

4) Consumer Education: Information about different types of products and services will be provided to the customer through consumerism. This may include expectations of customers, standard trade practices and prices.

5) Product Rating: Various types of tests and reports are provided to the customers by various consumer agencies so that they can take effective decisions regarding the selection of products.

6) Liaison with Government and Producers: Liaison with both government agencies and producers is done by many consumer organisations. As most of the customer needs are fulfilled by the government in India, these liaisons can help in fulfilling the needs of customers. Thus, the importance of the role of such agencies must be identified.

By Arya

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