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Rights of Consumer
The modern marketing concept recognises the fact that the consumer is the pivotal point around which the entire business moves. Satisfaction of consumers wants and needs is stated to be the prime and supreme objective of a business. But in reality consumer feels he is supplied with adulterated stuff at a price far above the cost price. In order to protect their own interest, consumers must educate themselves about their rights.
Consumer Right is interpreted as “the right to have information about the quality, potency, quantity, purity, price, and standard of goods or services”.
The consumer is to be protected against any unfair practices of trade. It is mandatory for the consumers to know these rights. However, there are strong and clear laws in India to defend consumer rights. The most important law is the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. According to this law, everybody including individuals, a firm, a Hindu undivided family and a company, has the right towards the purchase of goods made by them. It is the significant that, as a consumer, everyone should know the basic rights as well as about the courts and procedures that follow with the infringement of one’s rights
The former president of U.S.A Mr. John F. Kennedy defined the basic consumer rights as “The Right of Safety, the Right to be informed, the Right to choose and the Right to be heard.”
The consumer is the king of the modern marketing, but in fact he is not. The various rights of consumers guaranteed under the Consumer Protection Act have been discussed here under.
There may be few products that are more likely to cause physical danger to consumers’ health, lives and property. They may contain potentially harmful substances which are dangerous from the consumer welfare point of view. The best examples of this kind are Food additives, colours, emulsifiers, preservatives. The health hazards which are likely to arise have to be eradicated or reduced altogether. In case of food items and drugs both life saving and life sustaining safety is to be guaranteed. One thing that is encouraging to-day is that recent legislations have shifted the responsibility for the production of such unsafe items onto the shoulders of sellers rather than on buyers.
Consumers should be given all the relevant facts about the product so that they can take intelligent decisions on purchasing the product. Advertising and labelling on the package should provide objective information to buyers. This implies that manufacturer and the dealer are expected to disclose all the material facts relevant and relating to the product. The package should contain the full details about the name of the product, composition, dosage, date of manufacturing, date of expiry, batch number, warnings, antidote etc. In addition, it should clarify as to the name of the manufacturer, price with or without tax. Such information goes a long way towards saving the consumer against the possible deceit.
Consumer satisfaction is the ultimate aim of modern marketing and is the philosophy of marketing concept. A wise trader or dealer or manufacturer is one who maximises his profits by maximising the consumer satisfaction. Consumer satisfaction can be increased by giving the consumer the widest choice. The term ‘Choice’ means offering the widest range of products in quality and brand varieties at reasonable prices. In short consumers should have access to varieties of goods in terms of colour, quality, design, size etc.
Consumers have every right to ventilate and register his/her dissatisfaction, disagreements and get the complaint heard and aired. This right is vital. Business enterprises should lend a compassionate ear to complaints or grievances of consumers. All business enterprises should have a separate department or wing or segment for addressing consumer grievances.
This step is one step ahead of the previous right. The complaints and protests are not just to be heard: but the aggrieved party is to be granted compensation within a reasonable time period . There should be prompt settlement of complaints and claims lodged by the aggrieved customers. This will boost consumer confidence and help render justice to buyers. There should be fair and just settlement of deserving claims in a definite timeframe.
The consumer has a right to acquire knowledge and stay well-informed all through his life. He should be aware about his rights and the reliefs granted to him where a product or service falls short of his expectations. Many consumer organisations and some enlightened businesses are taking a pro active part in educating consumers in this respect.
CONSUMERS RIGHTS IN INDIA
On 24th December 1986, Government of India enacted the
CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT 1986 to
01. Ensure Rights of Consumers
02. Provide Remedies for deceived Consumers
03. Check Unfair Business Practices & Restrictive Trade Prac ces.
This is a unique law in the WORLD.
Quality of life refers to the perceived well-being of people, in groups and individually, and well-being of the environment in which these people live. Consumerism has been defined as ‘an improved quality of life.” It means that the environmental problems affect the very life of consumers and on the environment which people live. In other words air pollution, water pollution, food pollution, noise pollution, and relation pollution, and legacies of on-going industrialisation take a heavy toll on the quality of life of people and on the environment of their inhabitation. The social cost of these pollutions far exeed their social benefits. In other words, each kind of pollution is eating away the social benefits resulting from the society. It is where the social responsibilities of business enterprises arise; there is nothing wrong in producing the products/output for the mankind. But the manufacturers have to safely dispose the inevitable sewage and effluent in such a way that it does not cause any damage to human or environment.
The consumer has a right to be aware of his rights and remedies available to him, redress his grievances through publicity in the mass media. Consumer has a right to be protected against goods and services which are hazardous to life and health. For instance, electrical appliances which are manufactured with substandard components or which do not conform to the safety norms might cause serious physical injury to the user. Therefore, consumers need to be educated that they should use electrical appliances with ISI mark which stands testimony to the quality and standards observed in the manufacturers.
Every consumer has a right to get basic necessities of life such as food, clothing and water, and right to pure and healthy environment. It is the latest addition to consumer bill of rights. Community life should be free from various modes of pollution. This will enhance the quality of human life.
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