Consumer Rights and Responsibilities

 In the highly competitive and profit-driven business world, Consumer Rights play a key role to protect them from any kind of unfair trade practices. It also protects the consumers from the unsafe or dangerous products that can harm their health and well-being. The Consumer Protection Act of 1986 aims to give consumers rights to fight any injustice. The Act has gone through some changes over the years, the latest change took place in 2019. 

The Consumer Protection act aims to provide easy compensation to those affected by any injustice, and encourages the consumers to speak up and take action against it. It covers all the goods and services by all the public, private and cooperatives, except some exempted by the government. The Act promotes settlement of consumer disputes. 

What are Consumer Rights ?

Right to safety: It provides the consumers safety against goods that are hazardous and have the potential to affect life and property. Consumers should emphasize on the quality and safety factors of the product before buying it. Quality marked products such as ISI, AGMARK, etc. should be prefered. 

Right to be Informed: It consists of the right of the consumers to be informed about the quality, purity, standard, and price of the goods properly. Before deciding to buy, the consumers must consider knowing all of this information related to the product. 

Right to Choose: This includes the rights to access the variety of goods and services at competitive prices, wherever it is possible. With the case of monopoly markets, it refers to the right to be assured of good quality at a fair price. 

Rights to Consumer Education: It includes the rights of the consumer to gain the knowledge and become an informed consumer. It is extremely important to be informed, because most of the exploitation takes place with the advantage of lack of awareness and ignorance among the consumers. 

Right to be Heard: This means that consumers have the right to raise or represent their concern and interests at various consumer forums to ensure their welfare. The consumer’s interests will be given due consideration under this right. 

Right to seek Redressal: It is one of the most important rights of a consumer to seek redressal against any unfair trade practice experienced by them. It can help them to have a fair settlement or get the required compensation. They can also take the help of the consumer organisations in the process of seeking redressal. 

In case of any trouble or injustice, the consumers can file a complaint within two years of buying the product. The details of the problem should be mentioned in the complaint along with relevant bills and receipts attached to it. The written complaint should be submitted to the consumer forum for further action. 

As a consumer, it is our duty to be aware about the rights and responsibilities before buying a product or service, in order to avoid any injustice or exploitation.