Question 2

Explain the rights and responsibilities of consumer?


The Consumer Protection Act provides following six rights to consumers to safeguard their interests:

1. Right to Safety: It means a consumer has a right to be protected against the marketing of such goods and services that are harmful to life and health. Thus, consumers are educated to use standardized goods, such as electrical goods with ISI mark, food products with FPO mark, etc as such goods would be an assurance of meeting quality specifications.

2. Right to be Informed: A consumer has the right to get true and complete information about the quality, quantity, price, contents, expiry date of the goods and services which he intends to buy. Therefore, the legal framework in India has made it compulsory to provide all such information on the package of the product.

3. Right to Choose: Consumers have the freedom to choose products of their choice. This implies that the marketers should offer a wide variety of products in terms of quality, brand, size, etc, so that the consumer can make a wise choice by competitive prices.

4. Right to be Heard: The consumer has a right to file a complaint and to be heard in case of dissatisfaction with a good or a service. It is because of this reason, many enlightened business firms have set-up their own consumer service and grievance cell, and help consumers in redressal of their grievances.

5. Right to Seek Redressal: This right assures justice to consumers against exploitation and includes compensation for any loss or injury suffered by the consumers, replacement of goods or repair of defects in the goods in order to provide satisfaction to consumers. Thus, the consumer has a right to get relief in case the product falls short of his expectation.

6. Right to Consumer Education: Consumer should have knowledge about the various rights and reliefs provided by the legislations to protect their interest. Every consumer has the right to be well informed about his rights, and to spread awareness and education by forming consumer organisations and associations.

Following are the responsibilities of a consumer:

  1. A consumer should be aware about the various goods and services available in the market, so that he can make a wise choice by comparing their features and prices.
  2. A consumer must always buy standardized goods as they provide quality assurance. Thus, look for ISI mark on electrical goods, FPO mark on food products, hallmark on jeweler, etc.
  3. A consumer must learn about the various risks associated with the use and maintenance goods. He must follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  4. A consumer must read the labels carefully, so as to have complete information about the price, quantity, ingredients, usage, contents, expiry date, etc.
  5. A consumer must ensure that he gets a fair deal.
  6. A consumer should be honest in his dealings, choose legal goods and discourage unscrupulous practices like black-marketing, hoarding, etc.
  7. A consumer should always ask for a cash memo, as it is the proof of purchase required at the time of taking any action against a fraudulent seller/manufacturer.
  8. A consumer must file a complaint in case of any shortcoming in goods or services availed.
  9. A consumer should take initiative to form consumer societies that can take active part in educating consumers and safeguarding their interests.
  10. A consumer should respect the environment and avoid creating pollution.

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