• A person who has indicated his or her willingness to obtain goods and/or services from a supplier with the intention of paying for them.• Someone who has purchased goods and/or services for personal consumption
• The RIGHT to satisfaction of basic needs: To have access to basic essential goods and services; adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education and sanitation.• The RIGHT to be informed: To be given the facts needed to make an informed choice, and to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising and labeling.• The RIGHT to get truthful and honest information about the goods and services which are purchased.
• The RIGHT to choose between products of different qualities and prices, which are required to satisfy our needs: Personal demands, taste and others factors, of course, affect prices. It is the consumer’s right to choose a level of quality and performance equal to the price which he/she is prepared to pay.• The RIGHT to safety in goods and services bought: The right to expect that household products and children’s toys, when used according to manufacturer’s instructions, will not explode, set houses on fire, or cause personal harm or injury in any way.• The RIGHT to be heard: To complain to a retailer if one is dissatisfied about a product or service. To have consumer interests represented in the making and execution of government policy, and in the development of products and services.
• The RIGHT of redress: means the right to a fair settlement of just claims. It includes the right to receive compensation for misrepresentation, shoddy goods or unsatisfactory services.• The RIGHT to Consumer Education: means the right to acquire the knowledge and skills to be an informed and assertive consumer.• The RIGHT to a Healthy Environment: means the right to a physical environment that will enhance the quality of life. It includes protection against environmental dangers over which the individual has no control.
• The Consumer has the RESPONSIBILITY to protect himself/herself by:• Shopping carefully and wisely• Understanding the terms of the sale• Reading and following instructions• Getting guarantees in writing• Saving receipts• Asking questions at point of sale• Keeping informed about new products
• The RESPONSIBILITY of carrying out transactions in a businesslike way, such as reporting unsatisfactory products to retailers and manufacturers in order that they may be removed from shelves and future production.• The RESPONSIBILITY to tell other consumers about any unfair treatment by a retailer or manufacturer so consumers can protect themselves in future dealings.• The RESPONSIBILITY to report apparently unsafe merchandise to Consumer Protection bodies so that they can be tested and, if necessary, removed from the market or be more specifically labeled.• The RESPONSIBILITY to maintain and preserve a healthy environment for future generations.• The RESPONSIBILITY of demanding the best value for money.• Want value for money? Join an Action Group and let your voice be heard.
• Due to the expansion of business activities in an economy, we have a variety of goods available in the market. The demand for goods and services is influenced by the advertisements in television, newspaper and magazines. The companies spend a considerable amount on a advertisements alone attract consumers and feed information that they want us to know, but not the information that we as consumers want. When we, as consumer, do not have sufficient information about the products, we normally get exploited and are sometimes even harassed by business community.
CONSUMERS ARE EXPLOITED BY TRADERS AND MANUFACTURERS• Underweight and Under- measurements• Sub-standard Quality• High Prices• Duplicate Articles• Artificial Scarcity• False or Incomplete Information
• Underweight and Under-measurements: The goods being sold in the market are sometimes not measured or weighed correctly• Sub-standard Quality: The goods sold are sometimes of sub- standard quality. Selling of medicine beyond their expiry dates is generally the grievances of consumers.• High Prices: Very often the traders charge a higher price than the prescribed retail price.
• Duplicate Articles: In the name of genuine parts or goods, fake or duplicate items are being sold to the consumers.• Artificial Scarcity: In order to amass illegitimate profit, businessman create artificial scarcity by hoarding. They sell it later at a higher price.• False or Incomplete Information: Sellers easily mislead consumers by giving wrong information about the product, its price, quality, reliability, life cycle, expiry date and durability
• Limited Information: In a capitalist economy, producers and sellers are free to produce any goods or services in any quantity and there is no regulation on the prices. In the absence of information about different aspects of the products, namely, price, quality, condition of use, etc., the consumers are liable to make a wrong choice and lose money.• Limited Supplies: The consumers are exploited when the goods and services are not available in the required quantity or numbers. This gives us rise to hoarding and price-escalation.
• Limited Competition: When only one producer or group of producer or a group of persons controls the production and supply of a product, and is in a position to restrict the availability of supplies, there is a possibility of manipulation in prices and availability.• Low Literacy: illiteracy is one of the major drawbacks that lead to the exploitation of consumers. The level of literacy directly affects the level of awareness about products and the market.
CONSUMER PROTECTIONThe Consumer movement is a socio-economic movement which seeks to protect the rights of the consumers in relation to the goods purchased and services availed. Government has accorded high priority to the programme of consumer protection. The Department of Consumer Affairs being a nodal Department in the field of consumer protection has initiated a number of steps to promote a responsible and responsive consumer movement in the country. Such measures include the use of multi-media for promoting consumer awareness and encouraging consumers involvement through efforts of Government and non-governmental organizations and others.
• To create suitable administrative and legal mechanisms which would be within the easy reach of consumers.• To involve and motivate various sections of society such as consumer organisations, women and youth to participate in the programme.• To assist, encourage and provide financial assistance to Governmental and non-governmental organizations to take up various consumer protection activities; and• To generate awareness among consumers about their rights and responsibilities, motivate them to assert their rights and not to compromise on quality and standards of goods and services and seek redressal in consumer courts, wherever required.
Competition law, known in the United States as antitrust law, has three main elements:• prohibiting agreements or practices that restrict free trading and competition between business entities. This includes in particular the repression of cartels.
• banning abusive behaviour by a firm dominating a market, or anti-competitive practices that tend to lead to such a dominant position. Practices controlled in this way may include predatory pricing, tying, price gouging, refusal to deal, and many others.• supervising the mergers and acquisitions of large corporations, including some joint ventures. Transactions that are considered to threaten the competitive process can be prohibited altogether, or approved subject to "remedies" such as an obligation to divest part of the merged business or to offer licences or access to facilities to enable other businesses to continue competing.
• The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is a unique piece of legislation as it provides a separate three-tier quati-judicial consumer dispute redressal machinery at the national, state and district level. The Act is intended to provide simple, speedy and inexpensive redressal of the consumers grievances. In terms of the Act, the Central Government first constituted the Central Consumer Protection Council (CCPC) on 1.6.1987 and it has been reconstituted from time to time. The CCPC was last constituted in May, 2003 for three years. So far, the Council has held 23 meetings. The last meeting was held on 16.7.2003. The State Govts./UT Administrations are required to establish the Consumer Protection Councils at the State level as well as at District levels to strengthen consumer movement a the grass root level.
• Department of Consumer Affairs is periodically taking up with the State Govts. and UT Administrations, at the level of Chief Ministers, Minister in-charge of Consumer Affairs/Chief Secretaries/Secretaries dealing with Consumer Affairs, the question of strengthening the functioning of the consumer courts by providing adequate infrastructure and to fill up the vacancies of Presidents/Members on time. Review meetings with States/UTs along with the Registrars of the National & State Commissions were taken in batches during August-September, 2003.
• Five meetings were held with the President / Members of the National Commission and the Presidents of the State Commissions along with the Secretaries, State Govts. to discuss their problems, review the working of the consumer forums and the utilization of the one time financial assistance released for strengthening the infrastructure of consumer courts in their respective States/UTs. The last meeting took place in Delhi on15-16 March, 2003.• Department of Consumer Affairs has been arranging training for non-judicial Members of the consumer courts at the Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi. 939 members have been trained so far in 39 training programmes. In addition first course for the Presidents of the District Forums was also conducted during the year in which 28 participated.
• The Central Government, with the approval of Planning Commission, provided as a one time financial assistance of Rs.61.80 crores in four installments in the year 1995 to 1999 to the States/UTs to supplement their efforts for strengthening the infrastructure and other facilities of consumer forums.• Periodical reports on the functioning of consumer courts, pendency position, the progress on filling of vacancies and utilization of one time assistance scheme are being obtained to review the overall position of the functioning of the consumer courts and to take it up with the States for appropriate action.• The senior officers also reviewed working of the consumer courts during their visits to States/UTs. Similarly, the President, National Commission also visits a number of State/UTs to monitor and discuss functioning of consumer forums in States/UTs.
• 6 posts, including a post of Joint Registrar, were created in January, 2003 in the National Commission for meeting the requirements of section 24B of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 to enable them to effectively monitor the working of the consumer forums. Besides this, based on SIU study report of the Ministry of Finance 18 posts were created in October, 2003 for the National Commission including 6 posts for its additional bench.• For the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of the Act, Rules and Regulations are being finalized by the Central Government.• Union Territory of Chandigarh submitted proposal for creation of 35 posts in State Commission and District Forums in 2001. Department of Consumer Affairs requested Ministry of Finance for conducting Work Study in Nov. 2001. On the basis of their report in April, 2003, 13 posts have been sanctioned in October, 2003.
• “Jago Grahak Jago” weekly radio programme- Radio being the cheapest and having widest reach, a 15 minutes weekly programme “Jago Grahak Jago” is being broadcast through 110 stations of All India Radio in 22 regional languages. To make the programme popular a prize of Rs. 500/- per programme in every language is given. Now the frequency of this programme is being increased and one additional programme has been started from 14th December, 2003. The episodes for second broadcast are to be made mainly on the welfare schemes and activities for the benefit of consumers at large.
• Quarterly Magazine “ Upbhokta Jagaran”- Department is bringing out a bilingual quarterly magazine which is sent free of cost to voluntary consumer organizations, State & Central Govt. Ministries/Departments, libraries, Central Consumer Protection Council (CCPC) members and other concerned to disseminate consumer related information.• 6. Booklet on welfare schemes of the Ministry: Department is bringing out a booklet on welfare schemes of the Ministry in Hindi and English language which is being forwarded up to block level for giving wide publicity to the schemes of the Ministry so as to enable the people to take advantage of the schemes.
• . Video programmes for schools: Department also prepared 4 video programmes in Hindi each of 30 minutes duration specially targeting primary, upper-primary and secondary level students of schools during the year. The programmes will be made available in CD to schools, consumer clubs in the schools, State Governments and others concerned to make the students involved in the consumer movement.• 7. Newspaper advertisements being brought out on the occasion of National Consumer Day on 24th December and World Consumer Rights Day on 15th March and also to observe these days involving all concerned. Department is also considering to issue regular advertisements for creating awareness among the consumers during Dec. 2003- March, 2004, i.e., between “National Consumer Day” and “World Consumer Rights Day”
• 5.6 To educate consumer organisations and other sections of society, the Department has conducted training programmes in the field of consumer protection. The training programmes is being conducted for non- judicial members and Presidents of the State Commissions / District Forums. During 2003-2004, seven training courses for non-judicial members and one for Presidents of consumer forums are scheduled. So far, 40 training programmes for non-judicial members have been conducted in which 960 members have been trained. In addition during the year, first time a course for the Presidents of consumer forums was conducted and 28 Presidents participated.• 5. 7 To improve the training above training program this year onward the work relating to assessing the requirements, selection of participants and course content was entrusted to National Commission. These programmes are being conducted in collaboration with Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), New Delhi.