State the rights of consumers.
Introduction: -15th March is observed every year "Consumer Rights Day" throughout the world. This is because on this day in the year 1962, the then president of U.S.A. declared certain rights (first four of the following) of consumers. Some more rights were added later on by the International Organization of Consumer Union.
The Consumer Protection Act, passed by the India Government in 1986 also incorporates these rights of consumers. Along with that, two (last two of the following) rights were added by the Amendment Act in 1993 and 2002.
Following are the various rights of Consumers:
- Right to Safety: -It is one of the basic rights of consumers. It protects them against the marketing of those goods and services which are hazardous to their life and property. In other words, traders should assure that the goods to be sold will not cause any damage to life or property of the consumer. If sometimes, it may happen that the product is found to be hazardous after selling it in the market. In such a situation the right to Safety expects the trader to recall the product or to modify it or he should compensate the consumer for the damage.
- Right to Information: -According to this right, consumers should get correct information about the price, quality, purity, quantity, ingredients, etc. of the goods to be purchased. He should also be properly instructed about the use of the product and risks involved in improper use of the product. This information allows consumers to make right choice of goods and services. It also assures safety of consumer as well as the article itself.
- Rights to choose: -Today's markets are full of variety of goods. The consumer should be able to make a choice from a wide range of products. He has a right to choose the goods as per his need and budget. Very often traders are pressure tactics for selling poor quality goods. The right to choose enables a consumer to select a suitable product from among the available variety in the market at a competitive price.
- Right to be heard: -This right assures that consumer grievances and complaints will be heard and will receive due consideration at appropriate forums. This right allows a consumer to express his views about the product or service brought by him.
- Right to Redressal: -Only filing a complaint is not sufficient for a consumer to get justice, so the Right to Redressal is also recognized along with the Right to Represent. This right enables a consumer to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation. This right assures proper legal arrangement to attend to his complaint and to get it redressed.
- Right to Education: -This right entitle (enable) the consumer to know about consumer rights, market practices and remedies available to them. This knowledge creates awareness among consumers and they can protect themselves from unfair trade practices in a better way. The government, media as well as various NGOs can play a significant role to create awareness among consumers and to educate them. E.g. Jago Grahak Jago Campaign.
- Right to Healthy Environment: -As a human being the consumer has the right to lead his life in a healthy environment. They must have clean and pollution free environment in the present as well as the future e.g. if the production process of a manufacturer is creating air and water pollution then society can take objection.
- Right to protect Against Unfair Trade Practices: -As the name suggests, this right offers protection to consumers against any kind of unfair trade practices. Consumers can raise their voice against wrong measurements artificial shortages, exorbitant prices, etc. this right was incorporated b y the Amendments Act, 1993.
- Right to protect Against Spurious (fake) Goods: -This right has been added to the Consumer Protection Act by theAmendments Act, 2002.According to this right, consumers are protected from marketing of spurious and hazardous goods. It protects public health and life.