Awareness, Rights and Responsibilities of Consumers
The term consumer awareness denotes that the consumer is aware of his rights and details about the product or service he is buying. Consumer awareness is of immense importance as, by this, the consumer can be assured of the quality of his purchase and thus take the right decision value-wise. The right to safety, right to information, and right to choose are the fundamental rights of the consumers that every buyer of any goods or service must know. It helps to keep sanity in the market and builds a strong economy from inside out.
Rights and Responsibilities of Consumers
Consumer rights are the link between the seller and the buyer regarding the products and services. Is the product up to the mark of standard quality? If not, the consumer can take actions against the seller too. Consumer rights enable the consumers to know the rights that they hold if any malpractice is observed on the part of the seller and they (the consumers) have to reach the court of law to fight against it.
The Various Consumer Rights
There are a number of consumer rights. Each right entitles some special amenities to the consumer. These rights and their details are as follows:
Right to Safety
No product or service should ever hamper the safety of the consumers- this is the most important one. The product or service that the consumer buys must not exert adverse actions on the mental or physical health or overall health from any aspect.
Right to Choose
Sellers can convince a consumer to a great extent but they can never force the consumer to buy a particular product as they have the right to choose and take decisions themselves. The right also entails that a variety of similar products should be available to the consumer to choose from instead of monopoly in the market.
Right to Information
The consumers should know everything about the product or service and stay informed. The information should be neatly printed on the packaging of the product so that it can be read by the consumer. No details should be hidden or false information should be printed.
Right to Redressal
The consumers can seek redressal under this act if they come across trade practices they feel to be unfair or if the consumers feel they have been exploited unscrupulously. In case of dissatisfaction, the consumer should be compensated, his product should be replaced or money refunded.
Right to Heard
If a product fails to satisfy the consumer as it claimed it should, the consumer can pay a visit to the court of law and file complaint against the seller or manufacturer of the product. Such a complaint must be addressed within a timeframe and cannot be left unheard for an indefinite time period.
Right to Consumer Education
This is, in other words, awareness on part of the consumer. The consumers themselves must be aware of their rights and responsibilities as vested by the government. Lack of such awareness is quite common and must be done away with.
Unfair trade practices can be brought to a halt only by the execution of consumer responsibilities. Once observed, this can bring a much-needed change in society. The consumer responsibilities are:
Knowing the Consumer Protection Act and implementing them in case the need arises
Being aware and informed of the product and service they are buying and acting cautiously
Filing a complaint when the product bought fails to match the standard or meet the satisfaction
Asking for a Cash Receipt is a must after making every purchase
Checking for standard marks such as ISI, FSSAI etc which confirm the authenticity of the product
Consumer Awareness and Its Condition in India
Consumer awareness, as mentioned earlier, is the awareness regarding the redressal, information, safety of the products and services the consumers buy. This ensures satisfaction among the customers and the elimination of unfair trade practices. Not a lot of consumers are aware of the rights and responsibilities.
To deal with this, the Government of India has come up with various solutions. “Jaago Grahak Jaago” is one such campaign to aware consumers. Department of Consumer Affairs is working tirelessly toward this.
A Final Word
Consumer awareness is the need of the hour to get rid of sellers and manufacturers who follow unfair means. Consumers must be aware of the rights and responsibilities they are entitled by the government so that they are never deprived of their rightful purchase. These responsibilities must be executed too in a rightful manner by every consumer.