A social force to make business more honest,efficient & responsible.
“ A social movement seeking to augment the rights & powers of the buyers in relation to sellers”. Philip Kotler.
Need for Consumerism
The consumers are not only subject to the exploitation of private sector enterprises like nationalized commercial banks,state electricity board, telephone department.
Despite a number of laws passed to protect the interest of the Indian consumers, they are not aware of their rights.
Most of the victims of adulterated, hazardous, duplicate & standard goods as well as indirect weights & measurements. By resorting to unethical , false & misleading advertisement, business make quick money at the cost of consumers.
Utility of consumerism
It provides feedback information to businesses:
They understand the real needs & wants of the consumers. This will enables them to implement the marketing concept very successfully.
Producers & sellers will not take the consumers for granted:
When consumers are in position to protect their rights , businesses will not resort to unfair & unethical trade practices.
Consumers makes the government more responsive to consumer needs: Government compels it to pass the necessary legislative measures to safeguard the rights of consumers. Consumers get support to minimize the imperfections with regard to distributions : Sometimes the sellers charge exorbitant prices by giving one or other reasons.
Legislative measures for consumer protection in India.
Indian Contract Act 1872.
Sale of Goods Act 1930.
Agricultural Produce Act, 1937.
Industries (Development & Regulation) Act 1951.
Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954.
Essential Commodities Act 1955.
Essential Services Maintenance Act 1968. MRTP Act 1969. Standards of Weights & Measures Act,1976 together with the standards of W & M (Packaged Commodities) Rules 1977 & 1990. Bureau of Indian Standards Act 1986. Environment Protection Act 1986. Consumer Protection Act 1986.
Right to choose:
Even in a competitive market, consumers should have an assurance of satisfactory quality & services at fair price.
Right to be informed :
They should be provided with full information concerning the product or service such as quality & performance standards , ingredients of the product etc.
Right to safety:
The products available should not be hazardous to the health of life of consumers.
Right to redressal: It ensures compensation to consumers for the loss suffered by them or injury caused to them by the seller. Right to be heard: Right to a healthy environment. The products should not pollute air or water. Right to consumer education:
Hindrances to the growth of a strong consumer movement
Most of the consumers in India are illiterate.
Legal process in India is time consuming, due to which consumers do not come forward.
Lack of leadership is considered to be an important hurdle.
It is difficult to disseminate consumer education as India is a vast country.
Legislative are numerous but they are not effectively implemented .
Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
It is the only act which directly pertains to the market place and seeks to redress complaints arising from it.
It provides protection to consumers against unfair trade practices.
The act is applicable in whole India except J&K.
Who is the consumer for the Act
Any person who buys any goods for a consideration is a “Consumer” as defined under the CPA. But a person who obtains such goods “ for re-sale or for any other commercial purpose” is not a consumer.
What is commercial purpose??
When any goods are purchased with a view to use the same “ for carrying on any activity on large-scale, for the purpose of earning profit". it is a purchase for commercial purpose.
Meaning of Goods
The term “goods” in the Consumer Protection Act has the same meaning as found in sales of goods act as “ every kind of movable property other than actionable claims & money, & includes stocks & shares , growing crops , grass & things attached to or forming part of land , which are agreed to be served before sale”.
Examples of services
Services include banking, financing, insurance, transport, processing, supply.
Who is a Complainant?
“ A consumer or any other recognized consumer association or the central or any other state government”.
If the complainant has suffered loss or damage as a result of any unfair trade practice adopted by any other trader.
If the goods delivered to the complainant have one or more defects.
If the services rendered is deficient in any respect.
Consumer protection councils:
Central Consumer Protection Council– At national level.
Central Government & protection council—At state level.
Consumer Dispute Redressal Forums
A District Forum in each district.
A state commission in each State.
A National Commission at the Central level.
Composition of district forum
Each district forum shall consists of:
A person who is or has been or is qualified to be a district judge, to be nominated by the State government , who shall be its president.
A person of eminence in the field of education trade or commerce.
A lady social worker.
Composition of State Commission
A person who is or has been a judge of a high court , appointed by the state government who shall be its President.
Two other members who shall be persons of ability, integrity & standing & have adequate knowledge or experience in dealing with problems.
Jurisdiction of the state commission: the commission can entertain complaints where the value of the goods & services & compensation claimed exceeds rs. 5 lakhs but does not exceeds rs. 20 lakhs. Procedure for handling complaints- State Commission: Any person aggrieved by the order of state commission can make an appeal to National Commission within a period of 30 days.
Composition of National Commission
A person who has been the judge of supreme court to be appointed by Central Government.
4 other members with ability, integrity & capacity in dealing with problems relating to economics, law, commerce.
Jurisdiction of National Commission
Value of goods /services exceeds 20 lakhs, such complaints are entertained.
In the disposal of any complaint the commission will have all the powers of a civil court.
Time limit for disposing of a complaint is 90 days from the date of filing of case.