Every year on March 15, the world commemorates World Consumer Rights Day to increase public awareness of consumer needs and rights. Every person has the right to information about the quality, purity, price, and standard of the numerous items, goods, and services they purchase. Did you know that, as a consumer, you have the right to lodge a complaint at any time and from any location? The majority of people are unaware of their rights as consumers, thus by commemorating this day, we educate people about their ability to request protection and avoid falling victim to scams in the marketplace.


The main objective of World Consumer Rights Day, which is commemorated on March 15 each year, is to make sure that customers have access to all the information they need to make an informed decision. This day's history is an intriguing one. World Consumer Rights Day is an annual event that was started by Consumers International. To give consumers a strong, independent voice, Consumers International, a global federation of consumer organizations, was established in 1960.

Since 1983, March 15 has been observed as World Consumer Rights Day in remembrance of John Fitzgerald Kennedy's speech to the U.S. Congress on that date in 1962. He introduced the four basic consumer rights in this speech: the right to safety, the right to information, the right to make a choice, and the right to be heard.

Since then, World Consumer Rights Day has become more well-known and is observed annually with a particular topic. The most intriguing theme, "Tackling Plastic Pollution," sought to promote sustainable consumption and habits, with a particular emphasis on the production and use of plastics and their effects on the environment. Knowing our consumer rights is essential since only when we are aware of them can we tell if we are being duped or taken advantage of. Most essential, we have the right to speak up and sue any business that violates our rights by selling us goods or services. Talk about empowering the people!

RBI Consumer Protection Initiatives

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recently taken the following steps to protect and educate consumers:

Charter of Customer Rights

Based on international best practices in consumer protection, the RBI has created a "Charter of Customer Rights" for banks. The Charter outlines the five main fundamental rights of bank customers and enshrines broad, overarching principles for their protection.

Internal Ombudsman Scheme for Banks

All Scheduled Commercial Banks (excluding Regional Rural Banks) with 10 or more banking outlets are now required to appoint an Internal Ombudsman at the top of their grievance redress mechanism to conduct an independent review of customer complaints that have been partially or completely rejected by that mechanism. This requirement took effect on September 3, 2018.

Internal Ombudsman Scheme for Non-Bank System Participants (NBSPs), 2019

On October 22, 2019, an Internal Ombudsman Scheme for NBSPs was created to bolster their internal grievance redress mechanisms, following the model of the Internal Ombudsman Scheme for banks. The program is available to NBSPs (issuers of Pre-Paid Payment Instruments, or PPIs), which as of March 31 of the preceding year had more than one crore PPIs outstanding. The NBSPs covered are required to select an impartial authority to assess the complaints that have been partially or completely rejected at the top of their grievance redress mechanism.

Complaint Management System (CMS)

On June 24, 2019, RBI introduced the CMS, a cutting-edge web-based tool that unites all stakeholders on one platform, including clients, representatives from RBI Ombudsman Offices, CEPCs, CEPDs, and Regulated Entities to enable end-to-end complaint processing digitally. To raise awareness of financial services and consumer rights, CMS offers real-time status updates on complaints and also hosts extensive e-learning-based consumer education materials.

Strengthening of grievance redress mechanism in banks

In January 2021, a thorough framework for improving the internal grievance redress procedure in banks was implemented, and it consists of the following components: A thorough examination of the banks' grievance redress mechanisms and the start of the necessary supervisory and regulatory actions. B. Recovery of the cost of redress for maintainable complaints received against the banks that exceed the averages for their peer groups based on certain parameters. C. Enhanced disclosures on complaints.