Consumer rights and responsibilities: The government has constituted various rights to protect the interests of consumers. Initially these Were mere social codes of conduct, but most of these rights now have legislative backing. This implies that that there are various: Consumer Protection Laws, law-enforcement agencies and jurisdiction for upholding consumer rights.
Consumer Rights: Basic consumer rights like human rights had been recognized globally. In India, Consumer Protection Act, 1986 encompasses various consumer rights. Section 6 of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 recognizes the following rights of consumers:
- Right to Safety: Right to safety ensure protection of consumers against marketing and supply of such goods/services which are hazardous for consumer health, life or property. For example, certain drugs, electrical appliances, cosmetics etc., cause harm to consumers. The manufacturers of such goods must enclose safety and usage instructions with the products. In case of electrical appliances, consumers must be also given safety and caution instructions/demonstration before they use the product.
- Right to Choose: Right to choose ensures that the consumers have access to various products/services in the market at competitive rates and make choice for product at their discretion. Firms must not resort to over marketing and aggressive salesmanship to influence buyer’s behaviour and decision.
- Right to be Informed: The consumer has the right to know about he quality, quantity, purity and standards of the products.
- Right to choose: The consumer has the right to choose the product of his choice from a variety of products depending on its quality and fair price value.
- Right to be Heard: It also ensures that the customer is heard by different forums if he has any grievances against the product.
- Right to Seek Redressal: The consumer’s problems also need to be redressed by the authority The issues should be settled within the due course of time.
- Right to Consumer Education: The consumer has the right to remain well informed.
The consumer, or the consumer association or one or more consumers or the central or state government have the right to file a complaint if they have any issues with the product or its marketing or its standard or quality or service. If the value of goods or services remain below Rs. 20 lakh, the complaint can be filed at district forum, whole those higher from. Rs.. 20 lakh and lower than R.1 crore can be filed at state commission. However, the value of compensation if exceeds Rs 1 crore can be filed before national commission, That complainant had to pay a subtle amount of fee. It should carry the name, description and address of complainant, the name description and address of opposite party, the facts relating to complaint.
Some Other Rights: Section 6 of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 also following rights of consumers:
- Right to Healthy Environment: The right ensures protection against environmental pollution and hazards, when the individual consumer has no control. Thus these rights by their nature help in enhancing quality of life.
- Right to satisfaction of, Basic Needs: A person has right to basic necessities like food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, sanitation and essential goods and services.
Duties and Responsibilities of Consumers: Right and duties go hand-in-hand. Thus, if a consumer reserves certain, he or she is also entitled to certain duties. There are two duties of consumers:
- Duty to ensure the enforcement of rights (these duties are inseparable from consumer rights),
- Duties towards other consumers.
Duties Related to Consumer Rights
- While buying it is the duty of the consumers to ensure about the quality of goods. The consumers must ensure that the goods bought are not hazardous and that they receive safety assurance and necessary usage guidelines from the buyer. Consumers can also insist on issue of guarantee for the purchased product.
- Consumer must insist on getting necessary information about product and service before choosing the product. It includes knowing about product variants, dealer services, special discounts, product performance etc.
- Consumers must form consumer associations to protect their interests. Every person must be aware about such associations and work towards collective action.
- Consumer must inspect and compare the variety of goods in terms of quality, finish, price, durability, brand etc., before making any purchase. However, this is possible only in a competitive market where a variety of goods are available.
- Consumers must make complaint to appropriate authority for genuine grievances, though it may involve small value.
- It is also the duty of the consumers to know/acquire knowledge about. consumer rights and duties provided by the law. Informed consumers should help in creating consumer awareness and help less/ill-informed consumers.
Ecological and Social Duties: Consumers must choose products and services in relation to environment and society. For example, irresponsible consumption of certain goods causes wastage of resources, energy and environmental degradation. For example, smoking in public is harmful for people around. Similarly, electricity and waste are value resources and must be used judiciously.
Hoarding of goods in scarce supply further intensifies the scarcity in market and causes price elevation. It must be understood that activity of one consumer affects other consumers and hence it is required that people must understand their social duties as consumers.
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