12.12 Consumer Protection


Meaning & Importance

  1. What is consumer protection?
    1. Raju bought a cake manufactured by Eat India Company.
    2. The cake had exceeded expired date.
    3. Raju consumed the cake and fell ill.
    4. Consumer protection helps Raju to fight for justice.
  2. What is the importance of consumer protection from the consumer point of view?
    1. Consumer ignorance.
      1. Raju is illiterate and uneducated.
      2. Raju doesn’t know how to get a compensation from EIC.
      3. Consumer protection gives awareness to Raju.
    2. Unorganized consumers.
      1. There are no organizations for consumers like Raju.
      2. Consumer protection helps Raju to know his rights and fight for them.
    3. Widespread exploitation of consumers.
      1. Not only Raju, thousands of consumers are exploited.
  3. What is the importance of consumer protection from the producer’s point of view?
    1. Long term interest of business.
      1. Eat India Company wants to survive in the market for long.
      2. For this it has to win the goodwill of the consumers.
      3. Consumer protection will involve if EIC does any malpractice.
    2. Government intervention.
      1. If EIC produced or sold substandard goods, the government will take action.
      2. For fear of the government regulatory, the company will stop such practices.
    3. Moral justification.
      1. Adulteration
      2. Defective or unsafe products
      3. Misleading advertisements.
    4. Business uses society’s resources.
    5. Social responsibility.
      1. To owners
      2. To Employees
      3. To Government
      4. To Consumers

Consumer

  1. Who is a consumer under the guidelines of Consumer Protection Act, 1986?
    1. Consumer of a goods
      Any person who buys any goods for a consideration, which has been paid or promised, or partly paid and partly promised, or under any scheme of deferred payment. It includes any user of such goods when such use is made with the approval of the buyer but does not include a person who obtains goods for resale or for any commercial purpose.
    2. Consumer of a service (person)
      Any person who hires or avails any service for a consideration, which has been paid or promised, or partly paid and partly promised, or under any scheme of deferred payment. It includes any beneficiary of such services when such services are availed made with the approval of the person concerned but does not include a person who avails such services for any commercial purpose.
  2. Who can file a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986?
    1. Any consumer
    2. Any registered consumers’ association
    3. The central government or any state government
    4. One or more consumers on behalf of numerous consumers having the same complaint.
    5. A legal heir or representative of a deceased consumer.
  3. Against whom can complaints be filed?
    1. Manufacturer, the seller, the dealer.
    2. The provider of a services if they are defective in any manner.

Consumer Rights – Sichre

  1. Right to Safety
    1. Raju bought KTM Luke 290 from SouthEast Motors, Bangalore.
    2. The company provided him with a standard helmet and a lot of information about his safety.
  2. Right to be informed
    1. The company gave him a user manual that informs the user how to use/operate the bike.
    2. The company may also give him a test-ride.
  3. Right to Choose
    1. Raju went to buy KTM Luke 290.
    2. The salesman informed Raju about a new variant of Luke – Luke 320. Same price with more features.
    3. Raju decided to buy KTM Luke 320. Raju has got his right to choose.
  4. Right to be Heard
    1. Raju bought the Luke 320 but soon he realized that it didn’t give the average the company had promised.
    2. Raju contacted the customer care of KTM. The customer care representative listened to Raju’s complaints and suggested a he bring the bike to the Bangalore North KTM Service Station.
    3. Raju is heard.
  5. Right to seek Redressal
  6. Right to Consumer Education

Consumer Responsibilities

  1. Consumer should have knowledge about market.
  2. Use the product safely
  3. Be quality conscious and buy only standardized goods
    1. ISI for electrical goods
    2. FPO mark on food products
    3. Hallmark on jewelry
  4. Read the product labels for information about
    1. Price
    2. Manufacture date
    3. Expiry date
  5. Insist on cash memo
  6. Should be honest
  7. Must file a complaint
  8. Form consumer organizations
  9. Save environment

Functions of Consumer Organizations & NGOs

  1. Educating – Educating the general public about consumer rights by:
    1. Organizing training programs,
    2. Seminars,
    3. Workshops.
  2. Publishing – Publishing periodicals and other publications to spread knowledge about:
    1. Consumer problems,
    2. Relief available,
    3. Legal reporting.
  3. Testing – Carrying out comparative testing of consumer products in accredited laboratories to test relative qualities of competing brands and publishing the test results for the benefit of consumers.
  4. Protesting – Encouraging consumers to strongly protest and take actions against unscrupulous exploitative and unfair trade practices.
  5. Legal assistance – Providing legal assistance to consumers through legal remedies.
  6. Filing complaints – Filing complaints in consumer courts on behalf of consumers.
  7. Filing cases – Taking initiative in filing cases in consumer courts in the interest of the general public.

Remedies for the Consumer

  1. Removal of defect in goods and deficiency in service.
    1. Raju bought a KTM Luke bike but its gear system was defective.
    2. Consumer protection will make sure that the bike company will replace the gear.
    3. Raju hired a servant for his home but the servant did not know how to cook.
    4. Consumer protection will make the agency train the servant in cooking.
  2. Replacement of defective product with a new product free from any defect.
    1. Raju bought a KTM Luke bike but it was a defective piece.
    2. Consumer protection will make sure that the bike company will replace the bike.
    3. Raju hired a servant for his home but the servant did not know how to cook.
    4. Consumer protection will make the agency to provide another servant who fulfills all demands including cooking.
  3. To refund the price paid for the product or the charges paid for the service.
    1. The bike company did not follow the guidelines of the Consumer Court.
    2. Due to this Raju incured a lot of loss including the loss of his job.
    3. The Consumer Court can ask the bike company to pay Raju a big amount including the price of the bike + the loss of his job.
  4. To discontinue the exploitive/unfair trade practice and not to repeat it in the future.
    1. Not to offer hazardous goods for sale.
    2. To withdraw the hazardous goods from sale.
  5. To cease manufacture of hazardous goods and to desist from offering hazardous services.
    1. The bike company may be asked to stop manufacturing of KTM Luke.
  6. To pay not less than 5% of the value of the defective goods or deficient service to be credited to the Consumer Welfare Fund, etc.
    1. The bike company will have to pay around ₹ to Consumer Welfare Fund.
  7. In case of a misleading advertisement, the company may be asked to correct the misleading parts.
    1. “KTM Luke – Get a flight for ₹ 1 Lakhs!”
    2. “KTM Luke – Buy your Dream Bike for ₹ 1.2 Lakhs!”

Redressal Agencies

  1. District forum
  2. State Commission
  3. National Commission

Some Consumer Organizations & NGOs

  1. Consumer Coordination Council, Delhi (CCC)
  2. Common Cause, Delhi.
  3. Voluntary Organization In Interest of Consumer Education, Delhi. (Voice)
  4. Consumer Education and Research Center, Ahmadabad.
  5. Consumer Protection Council, Ahmadabad. (CPC)
  6. Consumer Guidance Society of India, Mumbai. (CGSI)

Biju John is an educational writer, educator and the author of OM - The Otherwise Men. He gives live classes on Skype and Facebook. You can attend his 3 Day Classes (English & Business Studies) in Delhi, Bangalore, Qatar and Dubai. His Contact number is 91 9810740061.

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