Consumer Protection Act, 1986, six rights for the consumer

Right to Safety

This right focuses on consumers must be aware of marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to their life and property. This right can be used in electronic appliances, health care, automobile, housing etc. Everyday there are thousands of new product launches some of them are tested whereas some of them are not can be proved to be harmful for consumers. Therefore, after this Consumer Protection Act, 1986, it is necessary for each field to carefully get tested and validated all their products before launching them into the market.

Illustration:

A, a producer, and seller decide to make a sweet which must be consumed within 3 hrs of making. Without mentioning this safety measure or this 3hr condition if he sells then he is liable under violation of right to safety of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 so under right of safety he is bound to mention this.

Case laws

  • In the case of Donoghue v. Stevenson[1] the right of safety was violated, and the producer was liable for the same. As mentioned in the facts on August 26, 1928, A friend of Mrs Donoghue brought her a ginger beer. After consuming about half a bottle when remaining of the drink was poured into the tumbler the decomposed remains of a snail floated out causing her alleged shock and severe gastro-enteritis. With this leading case where it was held that a producer sending goods into the market would be held liable to the consumer if the person or their property is injured by the normal use of the good. This famous Judgement extended the category of a person’s liability. From the producer to the ultimate consumer every person in the chain has been made liable [2]
  • In the case of Grant v. Australian knitting Mills[3], another leading case where liability was attached to the manufacturers and the weavers as we can see in the fact in June 1931, Dr Grant purchases few two pairs of woollen underwear and two singlets from John Martin & Co. Nothing was mentioned about washing and wearing the same. Dr Grant suffered a skin irritation within first few hours of wearing them yet continued to wear them for rest of the week. And did the same with another pair of underwear. Later the skin irritation went worse and developed into a case of dermatitis. Dr Grant blamed the underwear and sued John Martin & Co. for breach of contract and sued the manufacturer, Australian Knitting Mills alleging that they had been negligent in failing to take reasonable care in the preparation of the garments. The garments in question were alleged to contain an excess of sulphur compounds, variously described as sulphur dioxide and sulphites. Here both the seller and the manufacturer were held liable.[4]

Right to Information

Consumer should be aware of the quality, quantity, purity, standard, value of the product or services being sold by the vender. This right take cares of the unfair trade practices conducted by the vender to gain more profits. Therefore, it is important for the vender to provide all the related information to the consumer, of the product they want buy.

Right to Choose

Consumers should have different variety of goods and services at competitive prices, so they will have option to choose from wherever they want to and are not forced to buy products at one price from one vender in one design. It also reflects the age of market competition which can be found in almost each country. Therefore, it is the right of all the consumers to purchase any product at any price which according to him is the best. A consumer cannot be forced to purchase a product of some brand or quality.

Right to be Heard

It is right to be heard and to be assured that consumer’s interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums. This right was introduced for a consumer to ensure that all the complaints and issues related to the products are heard duly under the appropriate authority and action is taking place. This is because of this right that almost all the big selling companies have a separate department known as the customer service to help the consumers in case of any dispute or any complaint regarding the quality or quantity of the product.[5]

Illustration:

L, a consumer buys a Coke bottle from a shop, while opening finds out that instead of Coke there is Sprite in the bottle. Here L can place his complain to the Coke’s customer care and they must listen to her and provide with appropriate remedy.

Right to Redressal

Any kind of exploitation or unfair trade practices faced by the consumer he/she can seek for redressal. It can be in the form of compensation or damages. This act ensures that the complaints of the consumers are delt with proper care and justice. A proper redressal mechanism has been set up by the government of India such as the consumer courts and forums at district and national level which is discussed later in this article.

Right to Consumer Education

“Jago grahak Jago” is the common camps and advertisement carried out by the government of India. It is for the purpose that every person has the knowledge about all the important laws and policies relating to the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Despite multiple campaign and awareness, major part of population is still not aware of their rights. And so, the government and lawyers have organized “Jago grahak Jago” camps in the remote areas of the country.      


[1] Citation: [1932] UKHL 100 

[2] https://www.lawteacher.net/cases/donoghue-v-stevenson.php

[3] HCA 35, (1933) 50 CLR 387

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grant_v_Australian_Knitting_Mills#Facts

[5] Right to be heard, https://blog.ipleaders.in/consumer-protection-act-1986-amendment-bill-2018/

Aishwarya Says:

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