Who is the Consumer?
As per the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, any person who buys any goods or services is a consumer. However, the definition does not include a person who buys a good for resale or serves for commercial purposes. Often people get the question that what are the Consumer Rights in India?
What are Consumer Rights in India?
According to the Consumer Protection Act 2019, the definition of a consumer right is ‘the right to have knowledge about a quality or its various aspects like quality, quantity, strength, purity, price, and standard’.
The definition of consumer right is the right to information about ‘quality, affordability, quantity, purity, price, and standard of goods or services’, as this may be the case, but the consumer is to be protected against any inappropriate behavior. It is very important for the consumers of the business to know these rights.
Although India has powerful and clear laws to protect consumer rights, the real plight of India’s consumers can be stated as completely hopeless. Among the various laws enacted to Protect Consumer Rights in India, the most important is the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. According to this law, every person, including a firm, a Hindu undivided family, and a company, the right to exercise their consumer rights to purchase goods and services created by them. It is important that, as a consumer, a person is aware of basic rights as well as the courts and procedures that follow with the violation of one’s rights.
Normally, Consumer Rights in India are listed below:
1) Right to protection from all types of dangerous goods and services.
2) The right to be totally informed about the performance and quality of all goods and services.
3) Right to free choice of goods and services.
4) Right to be heard in all decision-making processes related to consumer interests.
5) Whenever consumer rights have been violated, it has the right to be redressed.
6) The right to complete consumer education.
Several other laws such as the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and the Weights, Standards and Measures Act can be formulated to ensure that there is fair competition in the market and free flow of right information from goods and service providers to the people consuming them. In fact, the degree of consumer protection in any country is considered a true indicator of the country’s progress. There is a high degree of sophistication achieved by goods and service providers in their marketing and sales practices and in a variety of promotional functions.
The need for advertising increased for greater consumer awareness and protection. The Government of India has felt the condition of Indian consumers, so the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution has included the Department of Consumer Affairs as the nodal organization to protect consumer rights, Troubleshoot consumer complaints, and promote standards governing goods. And services provided in India. If the consumer’s rights are violated, a complaint may be made in the following circumstances and notice may be given to the close of the nominee.
- There are one or more defects or deficiencies in any relationship to the goods or services purchased or agreed upon by a person.
- A merchant or a service provider resorts to unfair or restrictive trade practices.
- A trader or a service provider if a price is more than the price displayed on the goods or the price that is agreed between the parties or the price fixed under any law that exists.
- Goods or services that are unnaturally or intentionally for sale that cause injury to health, safety, or life pose a threat to a person’s safety or life.
Right to Safety
According to the Consumer Protection Act 1986, which is dangerous to the life and property of the consumer, this right protects them against the trade of goods and services. This applies to specific areas such as healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and food processing, this right extends across domains as a serious impact on the health of consumers or their well-being. Automobiles, Housing, Domestic Appliances, Travel, etc.
There are medical crime prosecutions in the country when the right is violated. Every year, it is estimated that thousands or millions of citizens of India are killed or seriously injured by doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and the automobile industry in unethical ways. Nevertheless, the Government of India, known for its callousness, does not succeed in accepting this fact or making a feeble attempt to maintain the figure of accidents.
The Indian government needs world-class product testing facilities to test drugs, food, cars, or any other consumable product that may prove to be a life-threatening hazard. It is not by chance that the Tata Nano is sold in India, which is half of its cost in an industrially developed country, it is a classic case of the need for a cheap product to protect the family and the need for self-protection completes.
Developed countries such as the United States have Stalvert agencies that oversee the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for consumer products, food, and drugs, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for automobiles, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) This right to various other consumer products, etc., is a requirement of each product that could potentially be a threat to our lives after adequate and complete verification as well as verification. India is 50 years away from adequately and completely empowering this right.
Right to Information
The right to information is defined as ‘the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, power, purity, standard and price of goods or services’, as in protecting the consumer against unfair trade practices in the consumer Maybe the case for Protection Act of 1986. In the Indian market, consumers get information in two ways, such as advertising and word of mouth.
Although these sources are considered unreliable, this word of mouth is still quite common here. Because of this, Indian consumers do not have accurate and complete information to assess the true value, safety, suitability, reliability of any product. Typically, hidden costs, lack of suitability, quality problems, and safety hazards can be detected only after the purchase of the product.
Another right claimed by the Government of India on paper, this right should ideally ensure that all consumable products are labeled in a standard manner, including the cost, quantity, and cost of using the product safely. Material and instructions should be given. It is unfortunate that even medicines in the country do not follow the standardized labeling convention.
Unit price publication standards should be established for the consumer market where costs are manifested in standard units such as per kilogram or per liter. Consumers should be informed of the cost involved at the time of taking the loan in an accurate yet accurate manner. To provide benefits to society through this right, advertisers must be against the standards of products in advertisements.
Pharmaceuticals are required to disclose the potential side effects related to their drugs and manufacturers to publish reports from independent product testing laboratories for the purpose of comparing the quality of their products to those of competing products.
A website aimed at empowering consumers with the right to information is Consumerdaddy.com. Without the help of these types of websites, it is difficult to spread awareness among Consumers Rights in India. The right to information empowers consumers to easily access the information that is required of the consumer.
Right to Choose
Definition of right to choose according to Consumer Protection Act 1986 prices The right to ensure access to a wide variety of goods and services at competitive prices. One factor is needed to regulate the market and that is competition. The existence of cartels, oligopolies, and monopolies proves counterproductive to consumerism. Natural resources, the liquor industry, telecommunications, airlines, etc. are all being controlled to some extent by a mafia. Since Indian consumers come from a socialist background, the tolerance of the monopolistic market is found in their blood.
It has rarely been seen that people want to switch to a power company, at a time when they have a blackout at home. It is interesting to note that in some cities, micro-markets, like fish sellers, are also known to reduce and discourage the bargaining power of consumers. No matter what size or duration, but there is a collusion of different companies that sell a similar product. Is unethical or say less legal. It can be estimated that India will have to struggle for nearly 20 years to fully empower its citizens in this regard.
Right of Heard
As stated in the Consumer Protection Act 1986, the right to be heard and the right to ensure that the interests of the consumer will receive due consideration at appropriate forums is the clarity of the right to be heard. This right helps the consumers of India to voice their grievances and concerns fearlessly and raise their voice against the products or companies and ensure that their issues are also addressed.
However, to date, the Government of India has not set up a single outlet to listen to consumers or their issues. Many websites are trying to do this. The prime objective of consumers is to ensure that their voice is heard by the corporate world. There is a website, Consumerdaddy.com, where consumers can file their criticisms as well as complaints.
Each criticism filed gradually reduces the overall score of the product that is being criticized, so each complaint is independently investigated by an investigator who belongs to the Consumerdaddy.com website. This website always gives consumers the benefit of doubt, hence their voice is considered above that of the company. At consumerdaddy.com it is assumed that the consumer is always right, and he is the king.
If a consumer makes an allegation about the product, it goes to the dealer, or to the supplying company or manufacturer, that the allegation is not true. To be precise, the consumer is heard, and a load of evidence goes to the company. Various efforts are made by the government to empower citizens with this right, and it is believed that about 10–15 years and more are necessary to accomplish this goal.
Right to Seek Redressal
The right to redress against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or dishonest exploitation of consumers is called the right of redress according to the Consumer Protection Act 1986.
The Government of India has been somewhat more successful in relation to this right. At the district level, Consumer Courts like District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission have been incorporated with the help of the Consumer Protection Act. These are consumer complaints redressal agencies as well as geographic jurisdictions that address consumer matters between businesses and consumers.
About 20 lakh consumer cases are heard in the District Consumer Forum, and about one crore cases can be heard in the State Consumer Court, while more than one crore cases are heard in the National Consumer Court. It has been found that if one becomes a consumer protector or a protector of consumer rights in the country, then these courts are found to be ineffective due to bureaucratic sabotage, overcrowded cases, government apathy, and the collapse of infrastructure.
Only a few district forums have appointed officers for some time and most of them are non-functional due to a lack of funds and infrastructure. There are about 20–30 million open cases in India that are unsolved and will take about 320 years to finish. This type of compromised legal system makes consumer cases only civil litigation and puts them at the bottom of the priority list. It is estimated that India is 10 years away from granting redressal rights to every consumer in India.
Consumer Education Right
The right of every Indian citizen is the right to consumer protection as well as education about its rights, which is considered as the final right conferred by the Consumer Protection Act 1986. This right ensures that consumers in the country have informative programs and materials that are easily accessible and enable them to make purchasing decisions that are better than before.
Consumer education can refer to formal education through college and school curricula as well as consumer awareness campaigns run by both non-governmental and government agencies. Consumer NGOs, with little support from the Government of India, basically work to ensure consumers across the country. India is found 20 years away from granting this right which empowers the common consumer.