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Chapter: 11th 12th std standard Home Science Maintain Basic Knowledge for family life Higher secondary school College


In a free economy, consumers are regarded as kings and queens, but in reality they are the least important persons.



In a free economy, consumers are regarded as kings and queens, but in reality they are the least important persons. Sellers exploit buyers by adopting unfair trade practices such as adulteration, misbranding, poor quality, short weights and measures, deceptive packaging, false advertising, hoarding and black marketing. Consumer exploitation and the resulting dis-satisfaction is the root cause of consumerism in India. Consumerism (consumer movement) stresses the cooperative effort by consumers themselves to protect their rights and interest in the market place against unfair trade practices.


'Consumerism may be described as organization and united activities of consumers in response to consumer dis-satisfaction arising from exchange relationship between buyers and sellers'.


Consumerism is an attempt to make the market work better.


Objectives of Consumerism


1.     To restore the balance in the buyer seller relations in the market place.


2.     To protect consumers from unfair trade practices.


3.     To safeguard consumer rights.


4.     To represent consumer problems to the government and pressurize government to provide consumer protection by legislation.

5.     To organize consumer resistance against business malpractices.

6.     To undertake programme of consumer education to create awareness among consumers regarding business malpractices.


7.     The consumer movement has been totally absent in the past and at present is growing extremely slowly in India for number of reasons.


8.     Reasons for Slow Growth of Consumer Movement in India


9.     Absence of general awakening in consumers

10.                        Poverty

11.                        Illiteracy


12.                        Ignorance

13.                        Lack of consumer education and guidance


14.                        Vast country and big population


15.                        Unfavourable attitude of government and political leaders.


16.                        General passive attitude of consumers against malpractices of traders.

Role of Consumer Organisation


Consumers need a voluntary consumer protection and consumer guidance agency for adequate information in the purchase of consumer goods. The consumer organisation create greater awareness among consumers about various business malpractices. Consumer organisation educate consumers how to become better consumers, provide information about product safety, knowledge of protective laws and protective agencies of consumer interests through mass media like television, radio and annual exhibition.

Consumer Guidance Society of India [CGSI]


It is one of the leading consumer organisation in India. It is a voluntary, non-profit, non-political organisation established in 1966 by 9 housewives and few social workers to unite the Indian consumers in a strong enduring movement. Today it is the leading consumer organisation with representatives at central and state bodies. The society takes up consumer complaints, fights all kinds of complaints, and gives information through its monthly publications to create awareness among consumers.


Consumer Court


The consumer protection Act, 1986 provides for better protection of rights and interests of consumer. If there is a dispute between the buyer and the seller for settlement and redressal of grievances, it can be done through consumer rederssal forums and commissions. But it is always better to make an attempt with the manufacturers or seller before approaching the redressal forum or commission.


For redressal there are quasi-judicial machinery at three levels. They are


1.     Consumer dispute redressal forum at the district level for settlement of complaints claiming compensation upto 5 lakhs.


2.     Consumer dispute redressal commission at the state level for settlement of complaints claiming compensation between 5 lakhs and 20 lakhs.


3.     National consumer redressal commission at the national level for settlement of complaints claiming compensation above 20 lakhs.


4.     The district forum is established by the state government in each district. This consists of a person who is qualified to be the judge of a district court and two other members, one of whom shall be a lady social worker. Every member shall have a tenure of five years with age limit of 65 years.


5.     The following points needs to be remembered when one is filing a complaint

6.     Complaint can be made out on an ordinary paper. No court fee stamps or revenue stamp are necessary.


7.     The petition which is sent to consumer redressal forum should contain -

8.     Name and address of complainant.


9.     The name and address of person against whom the complaint is made.

10.                        Complaint details.

11.                        Complainants claim.


12.                        If one is not satisfied with the order of the district or state commission, they can appeal to the state or national commission respectively even if the value of the complaint is less.

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