Consumer Forum

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The consumer is perhaps the most exploited segment of the Indian Society. Before independence the British Rulers exploited the Indian consumer for the sake of their own interests. They cheated him so that the valuable wealth may continue to flow into their country. But the scenario did not change even after India got freedom.

The consumer continued to be exploited in this way or that by the traders and the manufacturers. Sometimes he was cheated in quality, sometimes in quantity.
There were adulterated goods in the market, and that too at high prices. What to talk of general items, there was adulteration in essential commodities like milk, ghee, condiments and even medicines. The consumer was helpless due to lack of awareness.

But now the situation has been changed. The consumer of today is fully aware of his rights. He knows that he is the backbone of the national economy and that he is the buyer and therefore he needs not to be exploited or cheated any more. Recently, it has been recognised that the consumer has his own rights which need to be protected. These rights are-

(i) The consumer has the right to be protected against the marketing of those goods and services which make exploitation.
(ii) He has the right to get information about the quality, quantity, purity, price and standard of goods, (iii) He has the right to go for consumer education which includes knowledge about goods and issues relating to his welfare, (iv) He has the right to go to consumers courts whenever he feels that he is cheated by the manufacturers or traders, (v) The consumer has also a right to choose satisfactory quality, quantity and service at a fair price.

The above mentioned rights have now lessened the consumer's plight. Not only this, to check hoarding and black marketing, both retailers and wholesalers have been ordered to display a list of the stock with them. The use of lables and price tags has been made a legal necessity. There is an act called Weights and Measures Act for the sake of the consumer's interests.

The Act ensures that the correct and standard measures are to be used by thee traders. Another act is there to check adulteration of essential consumer items. The Indian Standard Institute is doing great work in this respect. Goods marked ISI are certainly of better quality than the goods which do not bear this mark. The consumer is now very much aware of this fact and is inclined to purchase only ISI marked goods.

Thus, much has been done for the protection of the consumer. Now, it is the duty of the consumer to be conscious of his rights especially when he buys something. Only consumer awareness will check him to be exploited and cheated in the true sense.

After liberalization of economic policy, consumer goods have flooded the market as never before. Both foreign and India companies are introducing new products and brands with glossy and fancy packing as the middle and lower income groups are taking loans to-Companies still do not pay attention to the quality of their products and also do not value customer satisfaction. Very often a customer may get taken in by a misleading advertisement making tall claim as to the high quality and after-sales service. The consumer may discover later that the goods purchased by him are not up to the claims made by the manufacturer. Companies are not willing to invest in efficient after-sales service so long as their sales keep increasing. Newspaper columns can be seen to be full of complaints and many companies do not care to rectify the complaints. To enable the consumer to have his right to a deal, the consumer protection Act was passed in 1986. The Act promises to rectify all that and make accountant both the manufacture; s and providers of service. It provides for toe setting up of quasi-judicial bodies at district, state and national label for quick and inexpensive redressal of consumer grievances. Three groups-the consumer, registered voluntary consumer...
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