All the people participate in the market either as consumer or seller or producer. Any person who buys a commodity or service for direct use or ownership. I, you, we all are consumers when we buy a product or service. But people who acquires goods or services for resale or use in production and manufacturing cannot be considered consumer.
In free market economics, consumers dictate what goods are produced and are generally considered the center of economic activity. Individual consumption of goods and services is primarily linked to the consumer's level of disposable income, and budget allocations are made to maximize the consumer's marginal utility.
Within law, the notion of consumer is primarily used in relation to consumer protection laws, and the definition of consumer is often restricted to living persons (i.e. not corporations or businesses) and excludes commercial users. A typical legal rationale for protecting the consumer is based on the notion of policing market failures and inefficiencies, such as inequalities of bargaining power between a consumer and a business. As potential voters are also consumers, consumer protection takes on a clear political significance.
Concern over the interests of consumers has also spawned much activism, as well as incorporation of consumer education into school curricula. There are also various non-profit publications, such as Consumer Reports and Choice Magazine, dedicated to assist in consumer education and decision making.
In market, consumers are often exploitated. When a consumer is cheated in anyway, either by the shopkeeper or by the producer by giving him poor quality and adulterated goods or by charging more prices for a commodity or service, it is called consumer exploitation. Consumers are explioted in the following ways –
Adulteration means mixing of low quality products to a superier quality product. In many costly items like oil, ghee and spices, adulteration is made in order to earn higher profits. It causes monitary loss to the consumer as well as it spoils their health
2. Sub-standard quality
Sometimes, traders sell goods of sub standard quality. For ex – selling of medicines beyond expiry date, selling of defected home appliances, sub-standard quality drugs, etc.
3.False or incomplete information
Sellers easily misuse consumers by giving wrong information about it’s price, quality, reliabilty expiry date, durability, safety, it’s effect on health, maintainance cost and term and conditions of purchase
4. Lack of safety
Many electronic devices are produced localy lacking the required inbuild safeguards. This causes accidents to the consumer
5.Unsatisfactory after sale
Many high cost durable item need an extra care. The sellers do not provide the satisfactory services after sale despite the necessary payments.
Very often, traders charge a price higher than the maximum retail price (MRP). This case can easily be seen during black marketing. A product, such as mobile phone, which had not been officially launched by company in a particular country despite of high demand, than the product is imported from some other country and sold with higher price. The consumer buy the product with high price out of curiosity and felt exploited when the company officially launch the product.
Many false and dubligate article are being sold to the consumers. These fake products are mainly imported from mostly from China. They had poor quality.
8.Advertisement with false claims
Many times, sellers and producers advertise with false claims of the product. For ex – a fairness cream might not work, special pads advertised to increase height might have no result, etc.
9.Rough behavier and undue condition
In matters like LPG, fixing of new telephone line, consumer are often harassed and undue conditions are put under them