What is consumer protection act ?

Let's discuss the consumer protection act very briefly. In this passage, we are going to learn the following.

  • To understand the basic idea of consumer rights
  • To have an overall understanding of the act.

Introduction. 

Consumer Protection Division is mandated to implement the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and Consumer Protection, 1987. It is  entrusted with the framing of policy related to the  protection of  the interests of the consumers particularly  those grievances  arising in the post-sale of goods and services.

It provides for the establishment of three-tier quasi-judicial consumer disputes redressal machinery at the District, State, and National levels to render simple, inexpensive and speedy justice to consumers. These redressal agencies have the jurisdiction to adjudicate the complaints received from consumers against any defect in the goods purchased or deficiencies in the services availed or any unfair/restrictive trade practices, etc. adopted by any trader or person.  Apart from the quasi-judicial mechanism, National Consumer Helpline also addresses consumer grievances under the supervision of this Division.

Mainly three  schemes SCH(State Consumer Helpline), SCF(Strengthening of Consumer Fora) and CONFONET are being implemented in CPU Division for protection of consumer rights in the country.  

 The Department looks after the establishment and functioning of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, the apex consumer court such as the appointment of members, NCDRC etc.  Also, the constitution of CCPC is done by the Consumer Protection Division. Now let's discuss the rights of the consumer.

Right to Safety
This means right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services, which are hazardous to life and property. The purchased goods and services availed of should not only meet their immediate needs, but also fulfil long term interests.

Before purchasing, consumers should insist on the quality of the products as well as on the guarantee of the products and services. They should preferably purchase quality marked products such as ISI,AGMARK, etc

  •   Right to be Informed

Means right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices.

Consumer should insist on getting all the information about the product or service before making a choice or a decision. This will enable him to act wisely and responsibly and also enable him to desist from falling prey to high-pressure selling techniques.

  •   Right to Choose

Means right to be assured, wherever possible of access to a variety of goods and services at a competitive price. In case of monopolies, it means right to be assured of satisfactory quality and service at a fair price. It also includes the right to basic goods and services. This is because unrestricted right of the minority to choose can mean a denial for the majority of its fair share. This right can be better exercised in a competitive market where a variety of goods are available at competitive prices

  •   Right to be Heard

This means that consumer's interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums. It also includes the right to be represented in various forums formed to consider the consumer's welfare.

Consumers should form non-political and non-commercial consumer organizations which can be given representation in various committees formed by the Government and other bodies in matters relating to consumers.

  • Right to Seek redressal

This means right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers. It also includes the right to fair settlement of the genuine grievances of the consumer.

Consumers must make a complaint about their genuine grievances. Many times their complaint may be of small value but its impact on society as a whole may be very large. They can also take the help of consumer organizations in seeking redressal of their grievances.
 

  • Right to Consumer Education

This means the right to acquire the knowledge and skill to be an informed consumer throughout life. Ignorance of consumers, particularly of rural consumers, is mainly responsible for their exploitation. They should know their rights and must exercise them. Only then real consumer protection can be achieved with success.


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