Consumer is an individual or group of people who purchase or use goods and services for personal use. They are the end-users or final users of a purchased product or service in the sales distribution chain.
- When we pay a hairdresser to cut and style our hair
- When we purchase a flight ticket for a holiday, we are the consumers.
According to Section 2(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 defines a “consumer” as any person who buys goods or services in exchange for consideration and utilises such goods and services for personal use and for the purpose of resale or commercial use. In the explanation of the definition of consumer, it has been distinctly stated that the term ‘buys any goods’ and ‘hires or avails any services’ also includes all online transactions conducted through electronic means or direct selling or teleshopping or multi-level marketing.
TYPES OF CONSUMERS
- COMMERCIAL CONSUMER
These types of consumers buy goods in large quantities.
2. DISCRETIONARY SPENDING CONSUMERS
Consumers with unique buying habits are known as discretionary spending consumers.
These consumers prefer unique brands and become loyal consumers once they gain that trust for that unique brand.
4. INFERIOR GOODS CONSUMER
Consumers with low income that buy goods having low prices are inferior goods consumers.
5. DIRECT CONSUMERS
The consumers that produced goods for their self-consumption were called as direct consumers or direct producers also.
IMPORTANCE OF CONSUMERS
- ENCOURAGE DEMAND
The main source of demand for all the goods are the consumers. The consumers create demand in the market and producers produce goods and provide services according to the demand in the market.
2. CREATE DEMAND FOR VARIOUS PRODUCTS
The producer produces various types of products in the market according to the choice and preferences of different consumers.
For example, there are some consumers that prefer Dettol soap whereas other consumers prefer dove soup. Therefore, in order to satisfy all the types of consumers, producers increase the production of various products.
3. INCREASE DEMAND FOR CONSUMER GOODS
Consumers create more demand for all types of consumer goods like-
- Durable goods that include furniture, utensils, televisions etc.
- Semi-durable goods like clothes, books, shoes etc.
- Perishable goods like bread, butter, vegetables, fruits etc.
These goods are demanded by the consumers and this creates an atmosphere to increase demand for consumer goods.
4. ENHANCE SERVICE DIVERSIFICATION
Consumers consume large varieties of services like health service, banking and insurance service, educational service, communication and transport service etc. this leads to expansion or escalation of the service sector.
WHAT ARE CONSUMER RIGHTS?
The consumer protection act,1986 was sanctioned by the parliament of India in 1986 to protect the interest of consumers in India. To safeguard the consumers from any kind of abuse or exploitation, this act was passed.
TYPES OF CONSUMER RIGHTS
- RIGHT TO CHOOSE
The consumer must have proper access to the market to make a rational choice between selected goods and services. The customer has the right to make a free decision in picking a product from the market.
- RIGHT TO INFORMATION
The consumer has the right to be informed about the product or service that they are purchasing. This relates to the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, purity, standard and price of the good or service at hand.
- RIGHT TO BE HEARD
This right extends to consumers to be heard at the appropriate forums for voicing out concerns and also putting out ideas and visions for consumer welfare.
For example: A consumer is disappointed with the service or a product, then, the consumer has the option to file a grievance against it.
- RIGHT TO SEEK REDRESSAL
It is the right of consumers to seek redressal in case of any unfair practices in trade or exploitation of the consumer. This right gives power to the consumers to settle any cases, complaints and claims against dealers.
- RIGHT TO CONSUMER EDUCATION
This right focuses on spreading the meaning of consumer awareness and ensure that each citizen and consumer know what consumer rights are. A consumer has all the authority to acquire information and knowledge about his privileges and rights.
- RIGHT TO SAFETY
This is the right of the consumer to be protected against any product, goods and services which maybe harmful to them.
For example: low-quality beauty care products can accuse comparative damages.
DUTIES OF CONSUMERS
Duties and responsibilities of consumers are just as important as consumer rights.
- Consumers must check for logos or certifications on the product and make sure that the product is of good quality and have ben quality marked such as ISI, Hallmark etc.
- Consumers should always be sure that they have seen and understood all the information available about a product and make a rational choice. The sellers cannot force a consumer to buy any product against the consumers choice.
- Consumers should follow the rules and mot be unlawful while purchasing any product.
- Consumers should always ask for bills of purchase from the seller.
- Consumer must check the market retail price (MRP). A seller cannot sell the commodity at a higher price than the MRP.
WAYS AND MEANS OF CONSUMER PROTECTION
In India, Consumer protection movement has to be a social movement wherein people of all walks of life have to play their role. Following are some ways and means of consumer protection followed in India:
- Self-Regulations by Business:
Large business have realised that they can prosper and grow for a long period of time only by giving importance to consumers. Socially responsible firms follow quality standards and have started customer grievances cell to attend to the complaints of consumers.
- Business Associations:
Various business associations such as Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) have framed a set of code of conducts which lay down guidelines for dealing with customers.
- Consumer Awareness:
It is not easy to exploit an educated and well aware consumer. Consumer must be well aware about his rights, responsibilities and relief available to him under consumer protection act.
- Consumer Organizations:
Consumer organizations play an important role in educating consumers regarding their rights, duties. These organizations also help consumer to get relief in case of exploitation.
Government of India has framed a set of laws and legislation to protect the interests of consumers and the most important act framed by Govt, is Consumer Protection Act 1986. This act has provided three tier redressal agencies, i.e., District Forum, National Commission and State Commission.
2606GI.p65 (egazette.nic.in)-The Consumer Protection Act,2019
The Law of Consumer Protection by Sudhanshu Kumar
Consumer Protection Law and Practice by Taxmann
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