Consumer Awareness Rights & Responsibilities Role of government and civil society

Consumer Awareness, Consumer Rights & Responsibilities

Consumer Awareness is an act of making sure the buyer or consumer is aware of the information about products, goods, services, and consumers' rights. Consumer awareness is important so that buyers can make the right decision and make the right choice. Consumers have the right to information, the right to choose, right to safety. Let us learn more about Consumer rights, responsibilities, and consumer awareness in detail.
Consumer Awareness

What Is the Meaning of Consumer Awareness?

Consumer Awareness is the process of making the consumer of goods and services aware of his rights. It involves educating a consumer about safety, information, and the redressal options available to him.

As previously discussed consumer awareness is one of the most persistent problems the government faces when it comes to consumer protection. To resolve this problem the government has come up with various methods over the years. In fact, it is the main aim of the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Consumer Rights and Responsibilities

Consumer Rights is an insight into what rights consumer holds when it comes to the seller which provide the goods. What if the goods provided to the consumer by the business is not up to the standard? Then in that case – what should a consumer do? To be precise, what rights consumers have is in the court of law to fight against the malpractices of the business firms or sellers.

Consumer Rights

Right to Safety: This is the first and the most important of Consumer Rights. They should be protected against the product that hampers their safety. The protection must be against any product which could be hazardous to their health – Mental, Physical or many of the other factors.
Right to Information: They should be informed about the product. The product packaging should list the details which should be informed to the consumer and they should not hide the same or provide false information.
Right to Choose: They should not be forced to select the product. A consumer should be convinced of the product he is about to choose and should make a decision by himself. This also means the consumer should have a variety of articles to choose from. Monopolistic practices are not legal.
Right to Heard: If a consumer is dissatisfied with the product purchased then they have all the right to file a complaint against it. And the said complaint cannot go unheard, it must be addressed in an appropriate time frame.
Right to Seek Redressal: In case a product is unable to satisfy the consumer then they have the right to get the product replaced, compensate, return the amount invested in the product. We have a three-tier system of redressal according to the Consumer Protection Act 1986.
Right to Consumer Education: Consumer has the right to know all the information and should be made well aware of the rights and responsibilities of the government. Lack of Consumer awareness is the most important problem our government must solve.

Consumer awareness: Role of government and civil society

Consumer awareness

Several laws have been passed by the Indian government to protect consumers and uphold their rights—like the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, The Essential Commodities Act, 1955, Bureau of Standards Act, 1986, among others. The most important one, however, is the Consumer Protection Act 1986, which is set to undergo a major revamp. The new Consumer Protection Bill, 2018, was introduced by Ram Vilas Paswan, Union minister for consumer affairs and food and public distribution, in the Lok Sabha on January 5.

Talking about the new bill, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Consumer protection was in line with the government’s resolve of building a new India. New consumer protection act was in the making which would lay out stricter guidelines on advertisements, to ensure people are not misled. Stringent provisions have been proposed against misleading advertisements. A Central Consumer Protection Authority with executive powers will be constituted for quick remedial action. The government prioritizing consumer protection is in line with our resolve of a new India. We will change it to consumer prosperity on the way ahead."

Some points to note about the new Bill, which was approved by the Cabinet in December 2017, are:

• The Bill enforces consumer rights and provides a mechanism for redressal of complaints regarding defect in goods and deficiency in services.

• Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions will be set up at the district, state, and national levels for adjudicating consumer complaints.

• The Bill establishes a Consumer Protection Authority to investigate consumer complaints, issue safety notices for goods and services, and pass orders for recall of goods and against misleading advertisements.

• If a consumer suffers an injury from a defect in a good, he may file a claim of product liability against the manufacturer. The consumer must establish seven conditions in order to prove such a claim.

• The Bill classifies four contract terms as 'unfair'—(1) payment of excessive security deposits; (2) disproportionate penalty for a breach; (3) unilateral termination without cause; (4) one which puts the consumer at a disadvantage.

• The Bill empowers the central government to supervise the functioning of, and issue binding directions to the district, state, and national consumer dispute redressal commissions. These could affect the independence of these quasi-judicial bodies.

• The District Commission, a quasi-judicial body, may be headed by a District Magistrate, who is part of the executive. This could violate the principle of separation of powers between the judiciary and executive.

• The National Commission, headed by a judicial member and comprising at least 15 technical or judicial members, will examine complaints on questions of law. This could contradict a Supreme Court judgment that questioned the competence of such technical members.

• In order to claim product liability, a claimant must establish four kinds of defects in the product, the injury caused by it, and that it belonged to the manufacturer. The claimant must also establish that the manufacturer had knowledge of such a defect. It may be argued that the conditions to establish product liability claims are unreasonable.

• The Bill defines the product liability to include defects in goods and deficiencies in services. However, the conditions to be proven to claim product liability do not include conditions for services. It is unclear how a consumer can claim product liability for deficiency in services under the Bill.

The consumer has to be aware of his rights and play a key role. The success of consumerism is a strong function of consumer awareness and to avoid exploitation, consumers must become knowledgeable. Many constitutional provisions have been made by the government to protect the consumers. There is a great need to make them aware of their rights and responsibilities.

Consumer Awareness Question

Why do we need consumer awareness?

Consumer education and awareness motivate people not to purchase such goods which are very harmful to them. ... Through consumer awareness, they are also made known to the proceedings of laws so that they can solve their problems. 6. Construction of a healthy society: Every member of society is a consumer.

What are the types of consumer awareness?

a) Consumer awareness about Maximum Retail Price (MRP). b) Consumer awareness about Fair Price Shop. c) Consumer awareness about price, quality, and expiry date of the product. d) Consumer awareness about their rights and duties.

How do you create consumer awareness?

How to Increase Consumer Awareness
Step 1: Teach customers they do have a problem or need. Making consumers aware of a problem can be a little tricky when they don't know or care too much about it. ...
Step 2: Teach customers the basic solution to the problem. This is not a hard or even a soft selling phase. ...
Step 3: Here comes the selling.

What are 5 consumer responsibilities?

Consumers have five responsibilities: critical awareness; action; social concern; environmental awareness; and solidarity. But generally speaking, the fundamental duty of every consumer is to know their rights.

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