National Consumer Day is observed across the country every year on 24 December. The objective of this day is to raise awareness for consumers to know about their rights and responsibilities as consumers. The Consumer Protection Act was passed on 24 December 1986. After passing this act, some changes were made in 1991 and 1993 to make this act more potent and consumer-friendly.
Make consumer rights foolproof
Consumers were not satisfied despite the amendment then a comprehensive action was taken in December 2002 to make this act reliable. However, the government took the initiative and implemented a new Act on 15 March 2003 to make the Consumer Protection Act more functional and purposeful.
Govt adamant about curbing culprits
The government was determined to provide a robust safeguard to consumers and save them from various kinds of exploitation, like poor quality goods or inadequate services and unfair practices undertaken by the traders. Some of the people in business may misguide consumers with their sugar-coated words for the sake of making some profits. To curb such malpractices, strict laws have been made.
Ignorance of consumer rights
Unfortunately, in India, people are careless regarding the consumer’s rights. At the present trend of online shopping and how it has now become an essential part of our life, knowing such rights has become essential. Several times, consumers don’t complain despite getting poor quality goods due to lack of awareness of his rights. This provides an opportunity for traders to cheat many more customers.
Govt decides to make consumers informed
The Union government had decided to spread awareness among the consumers of this country. Video footages and clippings are being shown on TV and advertisements are published in newspapers to ensure people to remain alert in their purchasing and avoid the cheaters. If it happens, then move to consumer court and seek justice.
Introduction of Bill in 2019
Seeing the importance of difficulties faced by the consumers, the Central government decided to strengthen the rights of consumers, so Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan introduced the Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 on 8 July 2019, in Lok Sabha. The Bill was a replacement of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
Bill tells criteria of case
The Bill covers such consumers who buy goods or avail any service for a consideration. It has not included such type of products which are purchased for resale and goods or services for commercial purpose. Under this Bill, offline and online transactions are included, which can take place through digital means, teleshopping, multi-level marketing or direct selling.
Rights of consumers
Consumers have been provided with some special rights; they have the right to know the features of the goods such as quality, quantity, potency, purity, price and standard which they buy. So overall, six consumer rights have been mentioned in the Consumer Protection Bill, and those are:
– Right to Safety
– Right to be Informed
– Right to Choose
– Right to be Heard
– Right to Seek redressal
– Right to Consumer Education
Apart from the existing rights, there are other consumer rights, which everyone should know.
File case in consumer court
If a consumer is cheated, then he/she can move to District Consumer Commission or State Consumer Commission to register a complaint from where the product was bought or go to that place where seller’s registered office has been existing. The complainant has to register the case through electronic filing and have to pay the fee digitally. This step was taken by the government to reduce the botheration of consumers.
Tough for the seller, manufacturer
If a complainant files a case against the manufacturer or seller of a product for getting defective goods or if a manufacturing defect is found in the product and it does not obey the warranty rule, then manufacturer and seller both would be considered as the guilty party.
Complain in case of unfair practice
If anyone believes that violation of consumer rights are taking place through unfair trade practices or misleading advertisements, then a customer has to forward a complaint in written or digital form to the district collector, the commissioner of regional office or the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) for immediate action against the culprits.
Complain hearing mandatory
The significant thing is that the commission has no right to reject a complaint without understanding it. On the other hand, the commission will have to decide whether to admit or reject a complaint within 21 days after hearing. If no decision is taken during this period, then the complaint is considered to be admitted by the commission.
At the outset, it looks simple to move to a consumer court, and everything will be settled down smoothly. It is easy on paper, but in practicality, consumers have to face lots of harassment while filing the case. Therefore, many consumers don’t show the courage to move to court and register a case against a manufacturer or seller.