Every year on March 15, Global Consumer Rights Day is celebrated in over 120 countries around the world. Former US President John F. Kennedy announced the fundamental consumer rights on this day in March 1962. To mark the day, Consumer International, a non-profit headquartered in the United Kingdom, organizes awareness drives around the world with the support of over 250 associated organisations.
Before the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 was replaced by the Consumer Protection Act of 2019, consumer rights in India were protected by the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. In this article, a Navi Mumbai based advocate from “ParthaSaarathi” which is one of the best legal consultancy and dispute resolution firm, will discuss everything that you should know about consumer protection act.
What does it mean to be a consumer?
A consumer is described as someone who buys anything or uses a service, according to the Consumer Protection Act of 2019. A individual who buys a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purposes is not a consumer.
What are the rights of consumers?
Consumer rights are described as “the right to obtain information about various aspects of a product or service, such as its nature, quantity, potency, purity, price, and standard”.
Consumer rights in India
The legislature specified six basic consumer rights in the Consumer Protection Act of 1986:
1. Right to Safety
The right to safety is described as the ‘right to be protected against the promotion of products and services that endanger life and property.’ It’s mostly used in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and food processing industries. Automobiles, lodging, household appliances, and travel are all examples of industries that have an indirect effect.
2. Right to Information
Right to Information is described as “the right to be told about the nature, quantity, potency, purity, standard, and price of products in order to protect the consumer from unfair trade practices.” For example, consumers must be told about the cost of receiving a loan, and pharmaceutical companies must report any possible medication side effects.
3. Right to Choose
“Right to Choose” is ‘the right to be guaranteed, wherever possible, of access to a range of products at reasonable prices’. Since the MRP is not set by the government, a buyer can negotiate on it and the actual sale price could be lower based on taxes?
4. Right to be Heard
“Right to Hear” is “the right to be heard and to have confidence that consumers’ needs will be adequately considered in appropriate forums.” Consumers have the right to come forward without fear, file a complaint, and speak out about any goods or services. There are websites that allow consumers to send complaints, which are then checked and referred to consumer courts for resolution.
5. Right to Redressal
The right to redress refers to the ability to demand redress for unfair trade practices or unscrupulous consumer abuse. Consumer courts have been established with the aid of the Consumer Protection Act to enable consumers to obtain recourse for unfair trade practices or exploitation. District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums are located at the district level, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions are located at the state level, and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions are located at the national level.
6. Right to Consumer Education
The right ensures that consumers in the country have convenient access to informational programs and materials that can assist them in making informed decisions when it comes to purchasing goods and services. Knowledge can be disseminated through structured education provided by educational institutions or by public awareness campaigns coordinated by government agencies or non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
In India, these rights are the cornerstones of consumer safety. The Consumer Protection Act of 2019 has created five new consumer rights:
- Right to file a complaint from anywhere
- Right to seek compensation under product liability
- Right to protect consumers as a class
- Right to seek a hearing using video conferencing
- Right to know why a complaint was rejected
Importance from the Consumer’s Perspective
- Consumer Ignorance: When we look at it from the consumer’s perspective, we can see a few Consumer Ignorance, for
example, must be addressed; consumers must understand how to exercise their rights and obtain relief.
- Unorganized Consumer: We need a Consumer Group that can put consumers together and assist them in finding solutions to their consumer
- Exploitation of Consumer: Consumers are being deceived in a number of ways, including adulteration, false practice, bogus weights, incomplete details on packaged goods, and deceptive advertising. For example, many items claim to help you lose weight, but when you use them, they do not deliver on their