World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is an awareness day, which is observed across the globe annually on March 15. WCRD was the idea of former American President John F. Kennedy. Celebrating consumers day means to ensure that they are not the victim of market malpractices or social injustice.
Consumer protection a basic need
The first consumer day observed in 1983 since then it is an annual global affairs. The 2020 World Consumer Rights Day theme is ‘The Sustainable Consumer’, which talks about the requirement for sustainable consumption across the world and also highlights the role of consumers rights and their protection. The purpose of sustainable consumption is to accelerate resource efficiency and stress should be given on fair trade to reduce poverty along with providing a healthy and secure life to people of all walks of life. Sustainability is a difficult choice where consumers need to recognise their right purchase.
Brainchild of Kennedy
The day takes place on 15 March to mark the definition of consumer rights, outlined by US President John F. Kennedy. He was the first world leader to set out a vision of consumer rights and he also recognised the importance of consumers as a group. The date marks John f. Kennedy’s Congress speech on the Consumer Rights bill in 1962.
Rights to fight as a consumer
Consumer rights are part of the basic rights of a human, as it protects them from the wrongdoings of companies and selling their products. It empowers the common man to fight for his rights as a consumer, to fight against the false promises made by companies to sell their products, and most importantly consumer rights serve as a legal weapon against the injustices of corporations.
Journey of consumer rights
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, commercialisation of products was at its peak in the United States. Millions of American households were lured by attractive product commercials running around TV sets throughout the day.
Consumer Rights in UN Charter
Consumer Rights guarantees certain legal rights to protect the consumer from frequent abuse by corporations. The original bill of Consumer Rights contained 4 basic rights of the consumer but after UN’s amendments in 1985, four new rights were added in the bill. The current bill comprises eight basic rights of consumers, rights that are essential to control the free market hegemony.
Right to Safety
It ensures protection to the consumer from injuries except for vehicles, to ensure that the products do not cause any harm to the consumer.
Right to be Informed
The right asserts that corporations should also provide the customer with appropriate information related to their products, the warning or statutory information cannot be misleading or incomplete.
Right to Choose
The consumer should have the right to free choices among products and the government should ensure open competition for consumers to choose from a wide variety of options.
Right to be Heard
This rights deals with the ability of the consumer to raise his complaints or issues related to the product and companies need to ensure that customers issues are being tackled in a fair manner.
Right to Satisfaction
This right ensures that consumers should have accessibility to basic day-to-day amenities to live a decent life.
Right to Redress
This right empowers the consumers to redress their grievances, and claim for a fair settlement in case of any financial damages caused to the consumer.
Right to Consumer Education
The Right to Consumer Education emphasises on consumer and governments role to educate the consumer and acquire the knowledge required to make proper decisions on using the product and distinguish between the choices available in the market.
Right to Healthy Environment
This right deals with the right of every citizen to live and work in a clean and safe environment and ensure that future generations also have access to a clean atmosphere.
The growing need for Consumer Rights
At the time where markets are becoming technology-oriented and the normal markets are being replaced by online markets, the consumer has to trust the retailer and website for delivering excellent services.
There are instances of public receiving stones instead of smartphones, while sometimes they indulge in illegal online activities due to misleading advertisements. Consumer Rights become essential for every consumer in today’s world, as the competition in the market has forced companies to degrade their standard of the product to reach a greater audience.
Consumer Rights in India
The Consumer Protection Act of 1986 provides several fundamental rights to Indian consumers:
- Consumers have the right to choose the products of their choice
- Consumers have all the rights to reject hazardous goods.
- Consumers have the right to complain about low-quality products.
- Consumers rights must be heard in every decision-making process related to consumers’ interests.
- Consumers have the right to get compensation in case of the violation of consumers rights.
The day is celebrated across the world with enthusiasm. World Consumer Rights Day serves as a podium for consumers to proclaim their right to be respected and to be protected against the prevalent market abuse.