Consumer is any person who buys a good or avails or hires any service for a consideration that is paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised under the system of deferred payment and includes any user of such good who uses it by approval of first person or the beneficiary who avails service with the consent of the hirer for a consideration that is paid or promised or is partly paid or partly promised under a system of deferred payments. And everyone is a consumer even if he is a producer because basic necessities like food, clothing, shelter is something that is consumed by each and everyone. Thus if consumers are in such a majority than it is essential to protect the rights of consumers and in order to do the same consumerism is practiced which means – the welfare of the consumer by safeguarding their rights , by protecting them from unfair trade practices, from the articles injurious to their health and to save them from the exploitation by the well organised sector of suppliers of goods and services. Thus to ensure the same, some rights have been promised and some provisions have been fabricated. Out of them consumer rights ensured in consumer protect act are of utmost significance. According to them, consumer protection act 1986 –
Confirms consumers of their right to seek redressal in district, state or national councils and commissions in case of violation of their consumer rights.
The right to acquire knowledge and skill to become a vigilant consumer and seek consumer awareness is also something promised in CPA,1986
It also gave consumers, the right to be informed about the quality, potency, purity and standard of the good he is purchasing in order to save him from unfair trade practices.
It included the right to enjoy the natural and pollution free environment as given by the nature.
The right to be assured about the weights and measures being used are correct and standerdised.
The right to protect himself from goods and services that are hazardous to life and property.
To enhance the protection the the Old consumer protection act has also been amended, the principle followed was Caveat Emptor – ‘let the consumer beware’ due to which all the duty was upon consumer but its shift to Caveat Venditor -‘let the consumer beware’ has put the duties and liabilities upon sellers and service providers too. The shift has led to more transparency and has also included the e- transactions to be covered up in consumer protection act due to the changing environment where e commerce is something most prevailing. Also it has put product liability upon the seller and service provider i.e., if he sells something scrupulous, dangerous to life and safety of the consumer or is practicing misrepresentation of the products then he will be held liable for the same.
In order to protect the consumers, law has also defined the unfair contracts i.e., when sellers sell adulterated or scrupulous goods to the consumer, the seller can be held liable for violating the rights of consumer. It has included in the term ‘product seller’ the e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Myntra, etc, in order to protect the consumers who consume online products. In this way by the consumer has been made the king of the market by ensuring the enforcement of his every consumer right.
To prevent consumer exploitation and ensure amelioration of consumers, section 10 in 2019 consumer protection act established’ Central consumer protection authority’ and its major functions are –
– to protect, promote and enforce the rights of the consumers and prevent the violation of their rights under this act.
– to ensure that no false and misleading advertisements are made which contravene the provisions of this act or the other rules and regulations formed.
– to prevent the unfair trade practices and to protect the consumers from this and protecting sellers from engaging into the same
– to ensure that no person takes part in advertisement that is false or misleading.
According to the powers given to it, the authority can –
– review the matters relating to the enjoyment of the consumer rights including safeguards provided for protection of consumers.
– can inquire or can instigate an inquiry to be made into violations of consumer rights or unfair trade practices.
– it can also practice the suo motto power that is vested in the hand of authority.
– file complaint before the district commission, state commission or national commission as required under this act.
– can also intervene in the proceeding of the district, state or national commission as required to look into the violations of consumer rights by unfair trade practices
– it can also mandate to follow any international covenant or rule in order to ensure best legal aid in the violation of any consumer rights.
Provisions have been fabricated to deal with deficiencies in service sector too. There are many services like banking, airlines, hotels, etc where such deficiencies can occur and service provider can be held liable for the same. For ex – In banking, if a amount to be deposited into consumer’s account is not deposited by the bank or cheque bounce info. is not delivered to consumer on time , it can be the base for deficiency in service. In case Vijaya bank v. Pooja G Joshi – complainant deposited some amount into her account but entry was not made under her account book, making bank liable for its deficiency.
All the rights and provisions mentioned are just a small part of India’s idea towards working on consumerism, thus there is much more to appreciate, much more to know.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.
We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge